Loses to Spencer Massey in a close one.
It was quite a weekend for Leah Pritchett, driver of the Dote Racing Gumout Top Fuel dragster. Entering the NHRA Toyota Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, their team announced an expansion of its partnership with Gumout and the possibility of adding significantly more events to their 2015 calendar.
Gumout reentered drag racing this year with Pritchett and her small team, led by tuner Rob Flynn at the start of the 2014 season. The 70-year-old firm also has programs in the Lucas Oil Sportsman ranks for contingency award. “We keep growing here’d as a team,” Pritchett said, “and with Gumout returning and stepping up, I’m already seeing 2015 as a big year. I’m looking at the top-10 and feeling like, with the improvements we are making and where we have come from last year to this, that putting the Gumout dragster in The Countdown is very real.”
On Saturday evening, Pritchett showed her confidence as she recorded best pass of her short career at 3.755 seconds at 319.29 mph to earn the sixth starting spot in the (over-subscribed) field of 16. With 21 Top Fuel entries on hand at Las Vegas, the penultimate round of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, just making the field was an accomplishment for this part-time team. Making it in the top half of a very tight field? Excellent.
Takes out Antron Brown, Brittany Force
In her first round on Sunday morning, Pritchett matched up against Antron Brown, who held second place in the 2013 standings and was the defending winner of the Las Vegas fall race. With her better reaction time and a quicker trip down the 1,000 foot dragstrip, she beat the 2012 champion to the stripe, posting 3.793/320.97 to Brown’s 3.800/319.90.
Next up was Brittany Force in an all-female second round in the early afternoon. Again it was the Gumout dragster on top as Pritchett beat the 2013 Auto Club Road to the Future rookie award winner, with the 3.846/321.42 pass easily beating a tire-smoking Force. Pritchett’s great day ended in the semi-finals when she lost a close race to eventual winner Spencer Massey, posting 3.803/318.77 to his winning 3.775/325.22 lap.
The results posted by Pritchett this weekend were evidence that Gumout’s decision to stick with her and to continue to promote its brands through this 26-year-old racer is a good move on their part. With the Dote Racing dragster posting consistently quick laps each time it staged on the racetrack, the future, indeed is looking positive for the Dote family, for tuner Flynn and for Leah Pritchett.