For the seventh and final weekend this season, Leah Pritchett will switch between her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and Factory Stock Showdown Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, racing through a hectic schedule as she attempts to claim one championship and improve her chances for a second at the NHRA Fall Nationals near Dallas, scheduled for Oct. 4-7.
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett is just a single point outside of the top spot in NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and sits fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings heading into action at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown season wraps up this weekend, while the third event in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs is on tap for Top Fuel.
Pritchett made history last weekend at the NHRA stop near St. Louis, becoming the first driver in the Factory Stock Showdown class to make a pass in the seven-second range with a 7.936-second elapsed time (ET) during qualifying. She went on to claim the event win in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, her second consecutive in the class, to go along with her two event wins in Top Fuel.
“More than anything, not only am I pumped for this race, but proud of the journey of both these teams (Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown) to get to the position we are in going into Ennis,” said Pritchett, who is seeking her first series championship in both classes. “Unique barely describes the upcoming weekend. Everything we’ve been working towards comes to this weekend, in both categories.
“Obviously for Factory Stock, we have an extremely solid shot at winning a championship being only one point out of first place. Our strategy is to continue doing what we’ve done, not play ladder games, just run as fast as we can every time, and ultimately the game plan is to win the race, which would win us the championship.
“Still in strong contention in Top Fuel. Ennis is huge because it holds a very strong potential to be a turning point in the Countdown. Same mindset, win the race. We’re coming into Ennis with a new front-half after noticing issues in St. Louis from an incident. I think this excites me more than the magnitude of the race, because I know with new pipe, our crew chiefs will have their cooperative hot rod back. That brings a new level of confidence that I can’t wait to energize with in the car. At this point for both classes, we still cannot worry about what the competition is doing, and we will remain focused on our own path to being the quickest in every way.”
Fellow DSR Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Mark Pawuk also cracked the seven-second barrier, going even lower than Pritchett with 7.929 ET to reset the class E.T. record and earn the No. 1 qualifying spot at St. Louis. Pawuk will be among the favorites at Dallas as he hunts for his first Factory Stock Showdown win.