PRITCHETT TO RACE FULL FACTORY STOCK SHOWDOWN SCHEDULE
It’s shaping up to be a busy 2018 season for Leah Pritchett. In addition to the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) star’s responsibilities behind the wheel of her Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Top Fuel Dragster, Pritchett will also steer a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the full slate of 2018 SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events.
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 years of experience driving and tuning a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to his new role, including a 2015 NHRA Stock Eliminator World Championship and 2017 NHRA Stock and Super Stock runner-up finishes.
“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.”
Pritchett first tasted Factory Stock Showdown competition last year, racing at two events in the popular NHRA Sportsman category. That exposure stoked her competitive fires to embark on a full 2018 schedule.
“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 racecar, 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 off-season 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.”