LEAH PRITCHETT GETS HER FIRST TOP FUEL WIN IN ALL FEMALE FINAL ROUND
Two Top Fuel Dragsters driven by women went into the final round of the 2016 CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. But it was the Bob Vandergriff Racing, Quaker State dragster driven by Leah Pritchett who came out the winner.
Pritchett faced Brittany Force in the final round after defeating J.R. Todd in round one, two-time Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown in round two and Clay Millican in the semifinals.
Pritchett had a 3-1 record against Brittany Force, but the two have never faced each other in the final round. Pritchett had the advantage off the starting line and held on to that lead the entire race and made her quickest pass of the weekend: 3.775 at 323.12.
“As we were getting closer to the finish line I was thinking, ‘I don’t see her tire. Could I win this?’ The first thing I looked at is the win light. When I saw it, well… It is still soaking in. To win on a hole shot doesn’t get any better than that,” said Pritchett.
Pritchett also credits advice from two well-known men in racing with helping her mentally get through the final round.
“Don Prudhomme and I are pretty close and he gave me some pointers after Pomona that I implemented this weekend,” said Pritchett. “I also received great advice from Bob Vandergriff who is not just a car owner, but also a driver. He told me to just do what I do and that is drive. Don’t over think everything surrounding the final round with Brittany and I would be fine. He was right.”
There were several “firsts” for Bob Vandergriff Racing yesterday in the Winner’s Circle. This was Vandergriff’s first Wally as a team owner since stepping out of the cockpit in November 2014. While his team made it to the final round nine times last year, this was the first time BVR walked away a winner.
The win in Phoenix was also the first win for veteran crew chief, Mike Guger.
“Mike Guger & Joe Barlam are my co-crew chiefs. Joe has won before but Mike hasn’t,” said Pritchett. “To be able to bring this home for him and to celebrate with him is an honor. He’s put 40 years in this sport and that is way bigger than my 20 years in racing.”
This win also made Pritchett the 101st different winner in Top Fuel.