Leah’s machine loses traction despite outstanding starting line reactions
LAS VEGAS -- (Oct. 30, 2015) – Leah Pritchett was fast and consistent off the starting lights Friday with identical times of .062 seconds in the opening day of qualifying in the NHRA Toyota Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway “Strip.”
Unfortunately, the quick reaction times didn’t help Pritchett in the two rounds of qualifications after the 27-year-old California native posted the 14th position in the Top Fuel division.
On both attempts, Pritchett made excellent starts to half-track at the state-of-the-art drag racing facility but the Black Magic/Dote Racing dragster hazed the tires. In the first round, Leah clicked off the 10,000-horsepower machine to a time of 4.75 seconds with the second round time of 4.73 clocking.
“The Black Magic left the line well on both qualifying runs,” said Pritchett, who qualified fifth last year in the NHRA Toyota Nationals. “But right before half-track, I could feel the tires started to haze (smoke) a bit and I just clicked off the motor. It was a pretty surprising because the conditions were good and we have been running strong in the last two races. The Dote team is checking over the data from the computer to see what might have happened. Maybe we had a problem that caused the tires to lose traction.
“Luckily we’ll have two runs on Saturday to move back up in the field. I’m still confident we can qualify well for Sunday’s eliminations. We’ll be able to run in very similar conditions to Friday. The 14th position isn’t the spot we wanted today. We’ll be ready on Saturday for a strong performance.”
Last month, Pritchett advanced to the semi-finals at Charlotte and, a few weeks ago, Leah qualified her career best second at Reading, Pa.
Pritchett returns to Saturday for the two Top Fuel qualifying rounds scheduled for1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. PDT at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Final eliminations are set for Sunday (Nov. 1) at 11 a.m. PDT.