Photo: Don Schumacher Racing

Leah Pritchett delivers fastest unofficial ET in NHRA history, 3.654 seconds


On Friday, Courtney Force set the unofficial fastest pass in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car history during the Nitro Spring Training test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

And on Saturday, Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett did one better – just dropping the unofficial fastest pass in NHRA series history.

Pritchett metaphorically lit the drag strip on fire in her Papa John’s dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, with a new fastest pass at 3.654 seconds over the 1,000-foot distance, at a speed of 331.85 mph. Even more impressive was the fact it came in the heat of the afternoon, with track temperatures north of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

The official Top Fuel ET record in competition is a 3.671-second pass, which Steve Torrence set July 31, 2016 at Sonoma.

Pritchett instead opted to thank her crew for tuning her dragster to this scorching time.

“I have to be totally honest, we didn’t come out here to be the quickest,” Pritchett said, via the official NHRA website.

“That wasn’t the goal. The goal was to get the power that we created in the offseason to the track. We exceeded our expectations yesterday and today we did the same. For it to blast off at .65 on a warmer day today, man I’m stoked for (my team), that’s a lot of hard work and they just put it on the track.”

Pritchett endured a roller coaster 2016 season with a change of team but an eventual Countdown appearance.

More from Saturday’s runs are linked here, via the NHRA website.

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
Leave a comment

Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

Follow @JerryBonkowski