NHRA: Leah Pritchett ready to return to victory circle at Houston this weekend

NHRA
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NHRA Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett is used to pressure, having battled it since she began drag racing at eight years old in her native Southern California.

Rather than fearing pressure, Pritchett embraced it right from the start. From eight until 16 years old in NHRA’s Junior Dragster program, she took home 37 winner trophies.

These days, the 30-year-old Pritchett, who now lives in suburban Indianapolis, is one of the most popular racers in the National Hot Rod Association.

And she’s still scoffing at pressure, like the kind she and her 10,000-horsepower, 330-mph Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel dragster will face in this weekend’s Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park in suburban Baytown, Texas.

That pressure will be elevated even more with the fact that she’s sponsored for this race by Pennzoil. She wants to win not only for herself and her team, but also for her sponsor.

Pritchett is seeking her second career Top Fuel win at Houston.

Pritchett, who finished fourth in the Top Fuel final standings last season with two wins, three runner-up and four other semifinal finishes in the 24-race national event tour, is off to a good start to the 2019 season.

In the first four races, she finished runner-up to Billy Torrence (father of defending Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence) at Phoenix in late February, lost in the quarterfinals in both the season opener at Pomona, California, and the 50th annual Gatornationals three weeks ago in Gainesville, Florida, as well as an early first-round exit this past Sunday in Las Vegas.

So far this season we have already had some intense highs and lows comparable to a roller coaster, but what has stuck out the most to me is our team’s undeniable positive attitude to find a way to prevail,” Pritchett said in a media release. “It is contagious, inspiring, and that is why we will be heavy in the hunt for a championship come November.

This year I am really trying to fine-tune how to be deadly on the (starting line) tree. My sole focus in Houston is to bring home the Wally gold (winner’s trophy) for our golden Pennzoil partners.

I (can) already feel the excitement building, knowing that collectively this race is going to be a huge deal. The transformation of colors everywhere immediately created a sense of home turf.

That’s a feeling few get to experience. Winning at a sponsor’s race undoubtedly brings an extra sense of gratitude and accomplishment, and is a rare, real-time, in-person opportunity for key partners to experience the highest of racing highs.”

Even with a home turf feel, Pritchett knows she has her work cut for her to not only reach the final round on Sunday, but also to claim the victory.

Among the top obstacles in her way: points leader Kalitta, as well as Brittany Force, who won the Top Fuel class in last year’s SpringNationals.

In addition, there have been three different winners and six overall different finalists in Top Fuel in each of the first three races.

But a very confident Pritchett is up for the task – and the pressure that comes with it.

Embracing every moment is key,” Pritchett said. “If there’s one thing I can apply from our experience of winning at a sponsor’s race with a matching partnered car, it’s to morph any sense of extra pressure to perform, and mold it into high-energy excitement.”

NOTES: Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. (CT) on Friday, the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday.

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Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.