Pritchett Continues To Fly In Top Fuel

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 25 2017

Top Fueler Leah Pritchett won the provisional pole on Friday in Arizona with a record-setting run.

Leah Pritchett continued her scorching start to the 2017 NHRA season Friday, setting the Top Fuel elapsed-time national record on her second pass during qualifying for the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories in Chandler, Ariz., at the second of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Pritchett, Line and Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) are the defending event champions.

Pritchett’s 1,000-foot pass in 3.658-seconds at 329.34 mph in her Don Schumacher Racing dragster was a proper follow-up to her second career victory in the season-opening Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago. Steve Torrence set the previous mark at 3.671-seconds at Sonoma, Calif., in July 2016.

“To be behind the wheel of this machine that is constantly putting out time and time again fast numbers and quick numbers is, to be honest, a little bit difficult to comprehend,” Pritchett said. “It’s everything that dreams are made of. It’s almost too good to be true, but it’s not. Seeing the extra attention to detail that I’ve never seen before and, I’ve been around a lot of crews in my life, it’s paying off on the track so well and so much.”

DSR teammate/eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher is second in his U.S. Army dragster with a 3.667-second pass at 323.89 mph, the third-quickest run in NHRA history.  Three-time/reigning world champ Antron Brown is third after a 3.689-second pass at 326.56 mph in his Matco Tools dragster.

“Great job for the Army car today,” said Schumacher, who has won at Firebird a Top Fuel record five times. “Our first one (pass) was outstanding. The second run was just flawless. There was more out there. It was quick and smooth and easy, and right down the middle. And all those good things, but there was some left in it. DSR is 1-2-3; that’s an impressive stat at any racetrack you go to.”

Rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. sits fourth after a career-best 3.696-second pass in the SealMaster dragster.

Force set both ends of the Funny Car track record with her 1,000-foot pass in 3.838-seconds at 332.67 mph in her Advanced Auto Chevy Camaro SS during the first session.

“It’s always that first run of the weekend that you’re always the most nervous about,” said Force, of John Force Racing. “To be able to lay down a number like that for a track record and having (Matt) Hagan right out my window, I knew it was going to be a great pass. We ran killer numbers here during testing, that’s going to be our goal to be able to do it here again this weekend.”

Winternationals winner Hagan of DSR is in the provisional second position at 3.839-seconds and 329.67 mph in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T. Wilkerson is third with a 3.852-second run at 329.42 mph in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang.

In Pro Stock, Line covered the quarter-mile in 6.509-seconds at 212.19 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro for the provisional pole.

“This offseason was much different than last,” said Line, the three-time/reigning world champion from Ken Black Racing. “This year was about refining the recipe. And we did and it’s paying dividends for us right now. That was a really nice run. The track was really good here. No matter what tomorrow brings I’m going to have fun driving.”

Line took the top spot from Summit Racing Equipment teammate and four-time world champ Greg Anderson, who posted numbers of 6.522-seconds at 211.73 mph in the second session. Rookie Tanner Gray is third at 6.538-seconds at 211.79 mph in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Camaro.

Qualifying will continue Saturday at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1 will air Saturday’s qualifying in a one-hour wrap at midnight (EST). The network will air three hours of live finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (EST).


Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Leah Pritchett, 3.658-seconds, 329.91 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.667, 323.89; 3. Antron Brown, 3.689, 326.56; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., 3.696, 326.48; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.709, 322.88; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.751, 326.48; 7. Clay Millican, 3.751, 316.30; 8. Troy Buff, 3.764, 321.96; 9. Terry McMillen, 3.768, 322.11; 10. Scott Palmer, 3.971, 278.29; 11. Steven Chrisman, 4.771, 162.96; 12. Steve Faria, 5.295, 129.06; 13. Brittany Force, 6.377, 93.04; 14. Shawn Reed, 9.362, 78.92.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.838, 332.67; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.839, 330.31; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.852, 329.42; 4. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.873, 329.18; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.877, 327.43; 6. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.896, 328.22; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.897, 325.45; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.904, 328.22; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.920, 325.14; 10. Gary Densham, Mustang, 3.938, 320.36; 11. John Force, Camaro, 3.941, 313.15; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.035, 256.70; 13. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.226, 215.82; 14. Jeff Arend, Chevrolet Impala, 4.479, 202.91; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.950, 167.57; 16. Phil Burkart, Charger, 10.652, 90.12.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.509, 212.19; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.522, 211.73; 3. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.538, 211.79; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.540, 211.43; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.542, 211.23; 6. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.557, 210.77; 7. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.558, 211.59; 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.561, 211.73; 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.563, 210.70; 10. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 6.581, 209.88; 11. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.583, 209.62; 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.584, 210.21; 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.600, 209.56; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.614, 209.04; 15. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.615, 210.08; 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 21.361, 69.45.


| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 25 2017
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