(Photos provided by Papa John's and Leah Pritchett Racing)

Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett is delivering in a big way at U.S. Nationals

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BROWNSBURG, Indiana – At speeds of over 320 mph, Leah Pritchett may very well drive the fastest pizza delivery car there is.

The NHRA Top Fuel driver is being sponsored – the second of a two-race deal – during this weekend’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals by Papa John’s Pizza.

It’s been a pretty eventful weekend so far for Pritchett on three fronts:

* She’s currently 10th after the first three rounds of qualifying, with the final two rounds of qualifying set for Sunday.

* She finished runner-up in the prestigious Traxxas Shootout in Top Fuel Saturday, falling to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher.

* But Pritchett has already reached victory lane, coming off Friday’s “grudge match” race win against Papa John’s founder John Schnatter.

Schnatter drove a mint condition and classic 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28, while Pritchett drove her own classic, a 1969 Chevy Camaro Z-28.


Leah wins pizza race

While Pritchett crossed the finish line first, the real winner was Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, which received $20,000 from the grudge match: Schnatter put up $10,000, while Pritchett’s boss, Don Schumacher, put up the other $10,000.

“I wanted her to win, but I wanted a close race,” Schnatter said. “She’s just too good. I said, ‘Leah, the kids are going to win. That’s all that matters.’”

Added Pritchett, “To run against (Papa John) was exhilarating. I think it’s really awesome to have John be so integrated and for me somewhat of a mentor.

“He made Papa John’s out of absolutely nothing, from a dream. And this is a dream he is helping me get to live.”

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Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.