Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals
Event No. 6
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
September 4-6, 2020

Qualified: No. 6 (3.742 E.T. at 326.24 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.703 E.T. at 325.61 MPH defeated Terry McMillen 3.726 E.T. at 320.13 MPH
E2: 4.312 E.T. at 211.89 MPH defeated Tony Schumacher 9.048 E.T. at 79.71 MPH
E3: 3.743 E.T. at 322.34 MPH defeated Steve Torrence 3.724 E.T. at 325.14 MPH
E4: 5.141 E.T. at 145.75 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 3.705 E.T. at 326.32 MPH

Leah drove her fierce new-look Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye from the No. 6 spot to her first final elimination round appearance at the historic race affectionately known to drag racing fans as “the Big Go”. 

To get there, Leah powered her way past Terry McMillen in the opening round to pair up with DSR teammate Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals. Lady luck played a part in providing her an opportunity to advance as Schumacher dropped a cylinder early in his run while Leah’s dragster smoked the tires, requiring some pedaling to get her back on track and across the finish line to move to the semi-finals against Steve Torrence. 

Leah’s 0.053-second reaction time against her opponent’s 0.093, gave her the edge that she needed by turning on the win lights with a 3.743 sec /322.34 mph pass to Torrence’s quickest run of the event at 3.724/325.14, to capture the holeshot win with a margin of victory of 0.0215 seconds.

Leah then faced Shawn Langdon for the first time in a final round but saw her opportunity to battle for the win go up in tire smoke at halftrack, settling for a runner-up finish As a consolation prize, her efforts this weekend moved her into second place in Top Fuel Championship standings.

From Leah:

This Big Go did not disappoint on the intensity meter from needing to make a good lap in Q3 just to make the show to throwing down a .70 in the first round against Terry (McMillen) to run a 3.72. Those are the conditions we love to flourish in. After the second round they moved up the session 35 minutes and in one of the most impressive moments was the preparation for the semifinal round. To see this Dodge SRT team stay cool and calm and deliver what we did in the semis makes me very proud. We fed off of that and tried to duplicate that for the final and had clutch wear issues. We leave here second in points and that is incredible. The team faced a lot of challenges today mechanically, mentally and time-wise and we are going to take this as a building block for Gainesville.

Factory Stock Showdown Series

Qualified: No. 6 (7.958 E.T. at 172.08 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 7.969 E.T. at 171.64 MPH defeated James Jeschke Jr. 8.207 E.T. at 161.98 MPH
E2: 8.031 E.T. at 170.95 MPH defeated by Jesse Alexandra 7.988 E.T. at 172.70 MPH

Double-duty driver Leah Pruett earned a sixth-seeded qualifying position in ‘the Big Go’ Factory Stock Showdown field. The 2018 FSS U.S. Nationals champion was hoping to pick up her second Indy Wally trophy on Sunday, but she was outrun by competitor Jesse Alexandra in E2 after picking up a first-round win on Saturday night.

From Leah:

It was like a Barnham & Bailey Circus. Running, not running. Changing firesuits. We thought we’d run back-to-back after Top Fuel. Our competition knows they need to play some games on the line. They know we have good Drag Paks that can run solid numbers now. We ran great this weekend and just got flat beat in the second round. It was great to see Mark (Pawuk) go to the final round. With no testing, to come to the U.S. Nationals and go rounds and qualify well and prepare for the Gatornationals is great. We need to find a little more in the tune-up and we can do that in the next few weeks.

Source: Don Schumacher Racing

Photos: Mark J. Rebilas Photography