Leah Pritchett will pilot a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the 2018 SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.
Don Schumacher Racing driver to compete in seven-race NHRA Factory Stock Showdown
BY: MIKE PRYSON
Leah Pritchett will be working a little overtime in 2018.
In addition to her duties in the Mopar Dodge/SRT Top Fuel Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, the 29-year-old Pritchett will be competing in the seven-race 2018 SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown in a supercharged Mopar Dodge Drag Pak.
Pritchett’s 354-cubic-inch HEMI engine-powered Drag Pak will be prepped and maintained by the DSR team, led by crew chief and new DSR employee Kevin Helms. Helms brings the experience of driving and tuning a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to his new role, winning the 2015 NHRA Stock Eliminator World Championship and finishing runner-up in 2017 NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes.
“You should see the smile on my face, whether I’m talking about it or my team is talking about it,” said Pritchett, who in 2018 will also mark her second full year in a Top Fuel dragster. “It’s a dream come true. The double-duty aspect, I had a taste of it last year and honestly, I think it makes me a better racer overall. When we roll out in 2018, the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak will be put on the track by Don Schumacher Racing, which makes me feel fulfilled in every way. We have proven to have a very competitive race car, and the goal is to be the quickest and fastest in both silos (Factory Stock and Top Fuel).
“To have a three-time world champion Sportsman racer like Kevin Helms (as crew chief) is definitely an ace in my pocket, and I’m just being a student of his. We have had a pretty good offseason of development. The test sessions we’ve had, I never experienced a crew chief that was a driver and tuner before, so the dynamic is very exciting and compelling to me. Kevin is definitely a very large asset to the program, which gives me a ton of confidence.”
Pritchett raced at two Factory Showdown events in the NHRA Sportsman category a year ago. In 2017, Pritchett finished fifth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings and posted four wins. She has five career victories in Top Fuel and three in Pro Modifieds.
“We’re excited that, in addition to competing under the banner of the Mopar and Dodge brands in the NHRA Top Fuel class, Leah Pritchett will also carry our colors into NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition,” said Pietro Gorlier, head of parts and service (Mopar), FCA. “Leah is a fierce competitor and a great brand ambassador, and we look forward to cheering her on in double-duty at seven events this year.”
Fans will get an opportunity, starting Feb. 5, to pick Leah Pritchett’s livery for her ride in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class.
Fan vote to pick Pritchett’s Drag Pak livery at Hoonigan.com
Starting today (Feb. 5), fans can help choose the look of Pritchett’s NHRA Factory Stock Showdown race car. A pair of Mopar and Dodge//SRT-themed livery concepts, designed by motorsports lifestyle brand Hoonigan, will be featured on a special section of Hoonigan’s website, https://www.hoonigan.com/LP, for a fan vote that will end at 11:59 pm. ET on February 8.
Pritchett will carry the winning design at all seven NHRA Factory Stock Showdown races. The Factory Stock Showdown season kicks off at the NHRA Gatornationals, scheduled for March 15-18 in Gainesville, Florida.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series season begins Feb. 8-11 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Pomona, California.