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

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

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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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”