AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Leah Pritchett will lead a star-studded group of Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers into one of the marquee events of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season this weekend.
Pritchett will pull double duty during the 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, chasing both her first Top Fuel Gatornationals triumph as well as making her first start as the reigning SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown champion.
Pritchett raced her 354-cubic-inch HEMI-engine-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to last year’s overall FSS championship, with three consecutive season-ending wins putting an exclamation point on her campaign.
The turning point in her title run came during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, where she defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Mark Pawuk in the final. It was all win lights from there in the class for the Redlands, Calif., driver.
She’ll defend her title driving a Drag Pak carrying unique Mopar and Dodge//SRT Angry Bee-themed livery, designed by motorsports lifestyle brand Hoonigan and chosen by a fan vote on the brand’s website.
Pritchett carries a 12-round winning streak into action against an extremely deep field that will not only include Pawuk in a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, but also 2012 NHRA Pro Stock world champion and two-time Gatornationals champion Allen Johnson.
Johnson will campaign a Drag Pak this season, with additional vehicle preparation and support provided by DSR and Dodge//SRT Mopar engineers.
The goal is for Pritchett to make the maximum passes in Gainesville, not only in her Drag Pak with specially-designed Hoonigan livery, but also in her Don Schumacher Racing Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster.
She reached her 14th career final in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Motorsports Pass near Phoenix on Feb. 24 and currently ranks third in the Top Fuel point standings.
Pritchett would like to add a Gatornationals Wally to her trophy case and join Shirley Muldowney and Brittany Force as female Top Fuel winners in Gainesville.
“Competing at the Gatornationals alone is always prestigious, no less gunning for two Wallys at the 50th anniversary,” said Pritchett. “I remember attending the 50th anniversary of the Pomona Finals and Winternationals as a fan, and to now be a strong contender at the Gators in its golden hour is something that excites my soul. We have a great race car and team that I know is excited about putting on an incredible show for a sell-out crowd, as well as bringing home two truly golden wins to DSR.
“History will be made there, and we intend on giving it everything we’ve got to be the fastest part of it.”