Leah Pritchett Earns 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.

FireAde Teams Up With BVR To Sponsor Leah Pritchett Dragster



Bob Vandergriff Racing announces a multi-race deal to have FireAde 2000 serve as primary sponsor on the Leah Pritchett driven top fuel dragster at select events in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and serve as an associate sponsor throughout the rest of the season.

“Ron Thames owner of Fire Service Plus which makes the Fireade product and I starting discussing ways we could work together last October,” said team owner Bob Vandergriff Jr. “We’re both excited we were able to put together a program that will benefit both sides, they make a great product and it’s been very well received at every level we’ve introduced it.”

“When you think of B2B and creating opportunities I kept hearing one name, Bob Vandergriff and BVR,” said Ron Thames. “Since creating this partnership our company has already had doors opened for us at both the retail level and in the oil fields sector. I’m looking forward to growing this program and we’re off to great start already.”

This is Pritchett’s first season with Bob Vandergriff Racing and her first full-season behind-the-wheel of a top fuel dragster. FireAde is the second major company to team up with Bob Vandergriff Jr to sponsor Pritchett this season. Pritchett finished #14 in points last year after only competing in 16 out of 24 races. With the backing of BVR she has the NHRA Top Fuel Championship in her sights.

FireAde manufactures innovative, user friendly and environmentally safe fire extinguishers. Their products are made from 98% organic compounds, so they contain no hazardous chemicals and are biodegradable. FireAde is used by the NHRA Safety Safari and their extinguishers can be found in retailers all around the world.

The first race of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Series will be the Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, California on February 12 – 14.

Ron Douglas Joins BVR



Bob Vandergriff Racing has named Ron Douglas as co-crew chief on the C&J Energy Services Top Fuel Dragster of Dave Connolly. Douglas will work side-by-side with Connolly’s other co-crew chief, Jason McCulloch.

“I am really excited about joining Bob Vandergriff Racing for the 2016 season and beyond. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Jason McCulloch on the C&J Energy Services Top Fuel dragster,” said Douglas. “Dave is a great driver and I’m looking forward to working with the BVR team to get the C&J dragster into the Winner’s Circle. We have high expectations and lofty goals for the upcoming season.”

Douglas has been involved in NHRA Drag Racing for more than two-decades, working alongside racing legend Dick LaHaie and tuning cars for Doug Herbert and Cruz Pedregon. Douglas spent the last nine seasons with John Force Racing where he put his teams in the top 10 for seven straight seasons, made 31 final round appearances with 12 wins, and helped Courtney Force set a National speed record in Nitro Funny Car this past year.

“We have our sights set on the NHRA championship this season and Ron will play a major role in getting that done,” said team owner, Bob Vandergriff Jr. “Ron brings a lot of experience to the table, so I expect great things from him and Jason in 2016.”

BVR also just recently announced the addition of Leah Pritchett and a Quaker State sponsored Top Fuel Dragster. Mike Guger and Joe Barlam will be co-crew chiefs on that dragster for the 2016 season.

Bob Vandergriff Leads Charity Flywheel

Your favorite drivers from the NHRA will be working up a sweat to help make wishes come true for deserving children. The Vandergriff Foundation has teamed up with Flywheel Sports to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.



Bob Vandergriff Jr. confirms he will not be driving a top fuel dragster for the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series. Vandergriff will start his new direction solely as the team owner with Bob Vandergriff Racing next year, as the team plans to field two Top Tuel dragsters driven by three-time Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon and 25-time NHRA Pro Stock winner Dave Connolly. Dixon and Connolly’s dragsters will be sponsored by C&J Energy Services. Crew Chiefs will remain Kurt Elliott and Mike Guger.

Vandergriff said, “It’s no secret that I’ve been planning on exiting the driver seat. With the increasing demands of running thebusiness, that time has come. I’m excited about my new role and it’s actually recharged my batteries. I’m thrilled about the new direction for BVR. We have a three-time world champion in Larry Dixon and I’ve been able to hire someone who I consider one of the best natural drivers in the sport, Dave Connolly, to take over for me.”

Vandergriff began driving a Top Fuel Dragster in 1994 and was voted Rookie of Year in his first season in the NHRA. While making the final round several times, Vandergriff’s first NHRA win eluded him until 2011 at the Texas Fall Nationals in Dallas. He now has three wins and 17 final round appearances under his belt.

“I want to thank Josh Comstock and the entire C&J Energy Services Team for all their support of BVR over the years and their continued sponsorship as Dave and Larry begin a new era for our racing program,” said Vandergriff.

Dave Connolly makes the jump from Pro Stock where he is currently third in the standings, only 51 points behind leader Jason Line. Connolly has had a very successful career in racing. He has 25 wins in Pro Stock and four as a sportsman competitor. He became only the fourth driver in drag racing history who has won five consecutive NHRA Pro Stock events. He has been to the final round 47 times. Besides Pro Stock, he also drives the GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaro in Stock Eliminator at selected races.

“It’s kind of crazy. I’ve never really thought about driving Top Fuel, mainly because the opportunity wasn’t there. When Bob approached me, it really sparked my interest,” said Connolly. “Top Fuel is the fastest car on the planet. I’ve driven everything else, so I’m up to the challenge.” Connolly went on to add, “I’ve been driving a Pro Stock car or working on one since 2003; it’s what I have lived. It’s going be hard to step aside from all that and the people I’ve worked with but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for my future in drag racing.”

Dixon came to BVR earlier this season where he has been driving a second top fuel dragster on a part-time basis. After getting his top fuel license in 1994, Dixon went on to win 62 NHRA races and capture three NHRA Championships. He has competed in 108 final rounds.

“As I’ve said before, I am thrilled Bob gave me the opportunity to drive his car and I am happy we have been able to qualify consistently in the top ten and contend for round wins and race wins. Being part of Bob’s team has made racing fun again,” said Dixon. “It’ll be great to have Dave as a teammate. He is such an accomplished racer I would expect him to take to fuel racing like a duck to water.”

As for looking ahead to 2015, Dixon added, “It’s been a few years since I’ve competed for a Mello Yello Championship and I’m looking forward to the full tour with Bob’s team. He has great equipment and has assembled a talented group of guys and I feel honored he wants me to be a part of it.”

C&J Energy Services’ Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Josh Comstock said, “I am proud of our long relationship with Bob Vandergriff and his racing team. Bob’s integrity and selfless approach has been obvious throughout his career. When we first started our sponsorship with BVR, we were a small company with around 130 employees. We will soon have over 11,000 employees and Bob has been with us every step of the way. He always puts his team and C&J ahead of himself and has made several introductions—literally making the connection between C&J and key vendors—that have enhanced our supply chain and resulted in substantial savings for C&J. He also made the initial introduction to key industry leaders in The Middle East, which resulted in our establishing a strong presence for growth in the region. On the track, Bob captured all his career championship wins while driving the C&J Energy Services top fuel dragster, which is an achievement I am personally very proud of. Although I will miss watching him drive, I look forward to working with him in this new phase of his career where he will continue to support our growth and enhance the racing and sponsorship programs. I also want to welcome Larry Dixon, who will be racing for us full time, and Dave Connolly, who is new to the BVR and C&J team for 2015. Both are great talents and together I’m confident we will have much success”

Todd Back With Vandergriff In Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Bob Vandergriff Racing (BVR) will once again be a two-car team at the 2014 Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, with J.R. Todd driving the Total Equipment & Service sponsored Top Fuel Dragster at Auto-Plus Raceway this weekend.

This is the first of a planned 10 races with Todd behind the wheel. Mike Guger will also return as Todd’s crew chief.
“Having Total Equipment & Service support our program once again in 2014 is great and a big step towards helping us rebuild our two-car team concept,” said team owner and driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. “The second car is a huge help to our team and we look forward to getting it back on track full time as soon as possible.”
Total Equipment & Service is a subsidiary of C&J Energy Services, which is a the long time sponsor of Vandergriff’s Top Fuel Dragster. In 2013, Total Equipment & Service sponsored Todd in three races.

“We’re excited to see J.R. Todd and BVR back on the track in 2014,” said Barry Beadle, President of Total Equipment & Service. “Our involvement is always huge for our company, our customers and our employees. They really enjoy it and we continually see the benefit grow each year from an overall business standpoint.”

Vandergriff’s sponsor rings “the bell”

Josh Comstock, president, CEO, and chairman of C&J Energy Services, primary sponsor of Bob Vandergriff Racing’s NHRA Top Fuel team, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Friday. C&J Energy Services began trading on the NYSE under the symbol CJES in July 2011.

Headquartered in Houston, C&J Energy Services began its involvement with the Vandergriff team during the 2009 season, starting with a limited role as a primary sponsor at selected events. C&J stepped up to become the primary sponsor of the team for the full season in 2011, a season that included Vandergriff’s first Top Fuel win, which occurred in C&J’s home state at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in September.

Vandergriff was in attendance for the ceremony.

“It was quite an honor for me and my wife, Marisa, to be guests of C&J Energy Services and their lead banker for the IPO, Goldman Sachs, at the New York Stock Exchange,” he said. “It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you hope to attend someday.”

C&J Energy Services will again be the primary sponsor of Bob Vandergriff Racing in 2012. The win in Dallas, plus strong finishes at the final four events of the 2011 season, have the team ready to challenge for a spot in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.

C&J Energy Services is an independent provider of premium hydraulic fracturing, coiled tubing, and pressure pumping services with a focus on complex, technically demanding well completions. The company has a market capitalization of $1.14 billion.

Banner day for Bob Vandergriff Jr.

They pretty much threw out the form book at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.

True, Cruz Pedregon broke through to become the first two-time winner in the Funny Car category in 2013. And Hector Arana Jr. maintained his perfect record by claiming his third Pro Stock Motorcycle event in three attempts this year.

But Pro Stock produced a new-for-2013 winner in the form of 2011 category champion Jason Line. And the biggest surprise came in Top Fuel, where the dominant Don Schumacher Racing team didn’t advance beyond the second round of eliminations, allowing Bob Vandergriff Jr. to score a popular victory.

Vandergriff, following a personal tradition, jogged from the finish line back to the start line to join his crew in celebrating his third career Top Fuel event win.

It was a banner weekend for Bob Vandergriff Racing, as the team expanded to run three cars, adding a third entry for J.R. Todd alongside regular runners Vandergriff and Clay Millican. In addition, the team had more than 700 guests on hand from sponsor C&J Energy Services.

[+] EnlargeBob Vandergriff Jr.
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
Bob Vandergriff Jr. hoists his Wally after winning the Top Fuel event at Royal Purple Raceway on Sunday.
After starting his career 0-13 in final-round matchups, Vandergriff has won his past three.

“What a great day!” the 48-year old exclaimed to the live ESPN2 television audience after a winning pass of 3.904 seconds/316.38 mph.

“It’s always great to win, but you couldn’t pick a better place to win than Houston. You couldn’t write a movie like that. Great for our guys — we did a great job and we just kept battling and battling to get to go out on the racetrack. And we finally did. All three teams helped us out for the final round.”

Later, he told reporters: “After qualifying, winning this race was the farthest thing from my mind. We just started picking away and got to the point where we made a great run in the final.”

Tricky weather conditions undoubtedly helped shake up the results at Houston as rain ruled out most of Saturday’s final qualifying round and washed the accumulated rubber off the track surface.

Several high-profile teams struggled to adapt, most notably Don Schumacher Racing and John Force Racing.

DSR failed to put a car in the final round of Top Fuel or Funny Car for the first time since July 10, 2011, at Route 66 Raceway.

Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown failed to advance past the first round, with Brown losing out to No. 14 qualifier Vandergriff after lining up as the No. 4 seed.

“We’re really disappointed with our result this weekend,” Brown said. “The track got really tricky for everybody. That’s just what happens sometimes. The track just didn’t come around and we just got beat.

“You can’t take Bob Vandergriff or anyone in this class lightly.”

In Funny Car, the lack of JFR and DSR cars beyond the first two rounds produced a final-round matchup of Pedregon’s Toyota Camry versus Tim Wilkerson’s Ford Mustang.

Wilkerson smoked the tires while Pedregon laid down a 4.246-second/296.96 mph run to earn his second win of the season.

“Today was a challenging day, dealing with the track conditions,” said Pedregon, who serves as his own crew chief.

Laughing, he added: “I had to whack my crew chief just once because he went over-center a bit on the tuneup for the first round, but after that everything was good. It takes a totally different mindset to run a 4.18 and a pair of 4.20s like we did today [in the preliminary elimination rounds], and we did some things to the car that we’ve never done before. It was a great weekend all around.”

Line scored the 30th Pro Stock win of his career but the first since October 2012 at Charlotte.

He and fellow finalist Shane Gray covered the 1,000 feet in an identical 6.589 seconds, but Line’s reaction-time advantage of 0.007 seconds (0.048 versus Line’s 0.055) made the difference.

“We’ve been trying to win a race since Pomona, but until now, we haven’t been able to do it. so this was a good win,” Line remarked. “It was very difficult to win with today’s conditions, especially because we’ve been lost [with our tuneup]. Even in the first round today, which was my fastest run, it was a disaster.

“The big difference this weekend is that we made six good runs in a row, and the car responded well to the changes in our tuneup,” Line said. “That’s the first time we’ve been able to do that in a while.”

Riding a Buell, Arana is off to a dominant start in Pro Stock Motorcycle, adding a win at Houston to the ones he already earned this year.

Arana is just the third racer in Pro Stock Motorcycle history to win the first three events of the season, joining Matt Hines and Dave Schultz.

“This feels great,” said Arana, who beat his father, Hector Arana Sr., in the second round and Scotty Pollacheck in the final with a 6.912-second, 194.74 mph pass.

“Of the three wins, this was the most nervous I’ve been because I know how hard it is to keep going,” Arana Jr. said. “There are so many excellent riders out here. My bike has not been the fastest, but we’ve been the most consistent. As a rider, I’ve also been very consistent, and that’s a lethal combination. We just want to keep going.”

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway May 3-5.

Todd to run second Vandergriff dragster at Gatornationals

Bob Vandergriff Racing will again be a two-car team at the 2014 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, where J.R. Todd will drive the Total Equipment And Service-sponsored Top Fuel dragster. This is the first of a planned 10 races with Todd behind the wheel. Mike Guger will also return as Todd’s crew chief.

“Having Total Equipment And Service support our program once again in 2014 is great and a big step towards helping us rebuild our two-car team concept,” said Bob Vandergriff Jr. “The second car is a huge help to our team, and we look forward to getting it back on track full time as soon as possible.”

Total Equipment And Service is a subsidiary of C&J Energy Services, the longtime sponsor of Vandergriff’s Top Fuel dragster. In 2013, Total Equipment And Service sponsored Todd for three races.

“We’re excited to see J.R. Todd and BVR back on the track in 2014,” said Barry Beadle, president of Total Equipment And Service. “Our involvement is always huge for our company, our customers, and our employees. They really enjoy it, and we continually see the benefit grow each year from an overall business standpoint.”

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