Pritchett Clinched Countdown Berth with Win at Brainerd
It was a double-up victory for Don Schumacher Racing at the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway at the seventeenth event on the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Funny Car legend Ron Capps got the ball rolling Sunday by qualifying for consecutive Final Round appearances. Capps had the honor last weekend of placing the winner's cap on long-time rival John Force, who captured his 150th win NHRA Funny Car at the 32nd annual Northwest Nationals. Dubbed the "Mayor of the Brainerd Zoo" because of the popularity of Capps' Corner at the track campground, it was the NAPA Auto Parts driver's third win in 2019 and his sixth overall victory at Brainerd MN.
Not to be outdone, Top Fuel teammate Leah Pritchett driving the MOPAR Top Fuel dragster for team owner Don Schumacher Racing posted a 5.72 second ET at 321.04 mph to defeat Mike Salinas. Salinas made his way to the Final by defeating Luigi Novelli, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta. It was Pritchett's first win of the season and her eighth career win. After a Round One exit at six of the last eight NHRA Mello Yello events, it was a relief for the 31-year old drag racer from Redlands CA just to advance through the pairings. Pritchett was quicker off the tree but lost the lead to Salinas before he spun the tires at mid track. As much as Pritchett is now a championship contender, so is Salinas who has posted two wins in five final round appearances this season.
In Pro Stock, Minnesota native Jason Line set an NHRA record winning a race in his class for the sixteenth straight season at the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Line knocked off Wally Stroupe, Alex Laughlin and Deric Kramer to reach the Final Round. The Number One qualifier posted a 6.597 second run at 209.10 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to beat Number Two qualifier Erica Enders. It was Line's 49th career victory but his first for 2019.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 28-Sept. 2 with the last race of the regular season before the Countdown to the Championship begins. Fans are expected to turnout in record numbers for the prestigious 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of Leah Pritchett Facebook