Leah Pritchett catapulted to the head of the class when she navigated her MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel dragster down the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona dragstrip in 3.694 seconds in Q2. Just like her Funny Car teammate, Pritchett’s machine has been on a tear lately. At the previous event on tour, Pritchett nabbed the Top Fuel pole and used her No. 1 qualifier to help maintain her ‘top five’ ranking.
“That pass felt phenomenal,” said Pritchett, a 12-time No. 1 qualifier. “It was extremely smooth. I think more than anything was getting past that cautious zone, that 250-foot mark, and at the 330, we were pulling really hard. I know it’s been a tricky track. The prep has been a little different, and it’s been a real challenge for everybody. To see the continuous communication between (crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara) and Neal (Strausbaugh) and being the second pair of the session makes it even more challenging. We thought a 3.67 was out there with the settings in the car, and the 3.69 felt just fine."
While mathematically, she is no longer considered a solid threat to contend for the 2019 championship, Pritchett’s current focus is on closing out her season with a No. 1 qualifier and a win at her home track.
“This place means everything to me,” said the Redlands, Calif. native. “Everything about it screams home. From the fans to the stands to the track itself. We are just out here running our race. Everyone else seems to be caught up in the points. Tomorrow is going to warmer, so we feel like that time is going to be hard to beat, but we know out here anything is possible. For now, we are just going to enjoy those four qualifying points.”
Pritchett is seeking her 13th No. 1 qualifier.
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Q1: 6.492 E.T. at 100.39 MPH
Q2: 3.694 E.T. at 322.88 MPH (Four bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Four
Source: Don Schumacher Racing Press Release
Photos: Mark Rebilas (@rebilasphoto)