NHRA: Leah Pritchett Back At New England Plus More With DSR

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Leah Pritchett is set to return to the drivers seat at the New England nationals and has more dates with DSR going forward.

After not being in a car at the Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Leah Pritchett will return to the track this weekend with Lagana Family Racing. In a car leased from Pritchett’s closed Bob Vandergriff Racing, Pritchett will try and regain her spot in the top ten in points. She ran in a Lagana prepared car at the Four Wide Nationals in Charlotte.

In that race she was able to make it down the track every time she pulled up to the tree. Posting 3.8’s every pass with a new team at Charlotte was quite impressive. Even though she was eliminated in the first round, she showed a lot working so well with a new team. It did not go unnoticed by Don Schumacher who signed her to a two race deal ten days later.

At Houston Pritchett was able to put together a team from her old BVR group. She leased a car and equipment from the shuttered BVR to make the trip to the Spring Nationals . She proceeded to get all the way to the semifinals, cementing the fact that she was a talent that needed to be on the track every week.

Following that effort in Houston Leah jumped into her first DSR prepared Top Fuel dragster in Atlanta for the Summer Nationals. DSR had to lease a trailer and quickly put together a crew for that effort. Even though they did not get the results they had hoped, the DSR FireAid pit in Commerce Georgia was one of the most popular of the weekend. With FireAid being based not far from Atlanta Dragway, it was a showcase that left an impression.

Pulling out of Atlanta Dragway the only race remaining on the 2016 schedule for Pritchett was the US Nationals in Indy. DSR was in the process of expanding their shop to house a fourth top fuel team, but they were not quite ready to move in. Sponsorship was also an issue as Pritchett’s primary sponsor, Quaker State, already had a relationship with DSR and was unable to continue as a primary sponsor.

After missing the Kansas Nationals, her second missed race of the season, Leah Pritchett’s name unexpectedly popped up on the entry list for the New England Nationals this weekend. Knowing that Pritchett has a deal in place with DSR, but they were not listed on the entry, I gave a call to the folks over at DSR. They let me know that she was driving for Lagana again, but I also was able to get some new news on Pritchett’s future.

As of now Pritchett schedule to be in a DSR Top Fuel dragster has expanded to include Englishtown and Bristol to go along with the US Nationals in Indy with FireAid stepping up and sticking with the rising star for the new races. With the shop space officially finished Friday at the DSR headquarters and a new hauler delivered just this week, it looks like DSR is working to be in the Leah Pritchett business full-time sooner than later.

Of course a full-time deal to finish the season would take more sponsorship, but a full commitment at this point is not needed. If Leah can get back in the countdown, she is just two points out now, Don Schumacher would not have her sit out if she has a shot at the title. Having won at Gainsville this season and her performance with all the adversity she has faced in 2016, sponsors are taking notice of the crowds she is attracting.

Related Story: NHRA on Fox Expanding the Sport

With NHRA television ratings on the rise, the budding rivalry of Brittany Force and Leah Pritchett is something everyone wants to see. With the historic names of Force and Schumacher behind the youth of Leah and Brittany, fans of all ages have something to root for. The NHRA is at its best when there are rivalries on the track. Right now it’s the owners that seem to be the rivals, but this could change that dynamic.

If Leah Pritchett can keep up her performance behind the wheel with all the struggles she has been through in 2016, imagine how good she could be if she could just focus on driving. Her win in Gainesville was just that, her and her crew working together and getting the Wally. The future is bright for Leah Pritchett, all she needs is to find a home where she can succeed. It’s beginning to look like Don Schumacher Racing is that home.