Leah Pritchett got right back into the swing of things during last week’s NHRA Nitro Spring Training event at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix. This annual event is the pre-season warm-up for drivers and crews and it represents the unofficial start of the 2018 NHRA season. It has been almost three months since Pritchett was behind the wheel of her 11,000-horsepower supercharged HEMI® Mopar® Dodge//SRT® NHRA Top Fuel dragster, but she and the team were dialed-in. Pritchett was focused and in the groove as she blasted down the 1,000-foot track at 334.73 mph, the unofficial fastest speed recorded by a Top Fuel dragster.
“I had a smile from ear-to-ear, 250-feet into the run it had a nice little chatter to it. That’s the first real indication that it’s going to be on a full pull from the tune-up standpoint.”
“It’s incredibly huge,” said Pritchett, who closed out her first full year as a member of Don Schumacher Racing with a career-best four wins and a top-five finish in 2017. “I had a smile from ear-to-ear, 250-feet into the run it had a nice little chatter to it. That’s the first real indication that it’s going to be on a full pull from the tune-up standpoint.”
Because it was accomplished during testing, the 3.664 at 334.73 mph test pass is not officially recognized by the NHRA, but the team welcomes the extra boost of confidence the claim of “top speed” brings going into the start of the season.
“It took us three days to be able to formulate a new tune-up for the additional amount of power this Mopar Dodge//SRT team was able to find in the off-season. On our fourth day of testing, we were able to lay it down, and man we needed that. That run right there was what we needed as a team to go into Pomona hot,” exclaimed Pritchett.
On paper, Pritchett’s 332.75-mph pass from the 2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals is her career best, and rounds out “NHRA’s Top 10 Fastest Top Fuel Speeds” list.
Pritchett and the rest of the DSR teams will kick off their 2018 campaign at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, Feb. 9-11. Pritchett is excited as she returns as defending event champion at this historic race.