Leah Pritchett, Tim Wilkerson Power Their Way To Victory During CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

Leah Pritchett, Tim Wilkerson Power Their Way To Victory During CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

by March 2, 2016

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Leah Pritchett and Tim Wilkerson claimed victories during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

For the first time in her career, Leah Pritchett went to victory in a Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel event. The win marked the first all-female Top Fuel final since 1982 when Shirley Muldowney beat Lucille Lee. On Sunday, Pritchett defeated J.R. Todd in Round 1 of eliminations, Antron Brown in the Quarterfinals, Clay Millican in the Semifinals and then she defeated Brittany Force with a pass of 3.775 seconds at 323.12 mph in the Finals. Force ran a pass of 3.774 seconds at 321.35 mph.

“It is the happiest day of my life, besides getting married of course,” said Pritchett.  “This is what dreams are made of.

“I feel like I just won the Super Bowl, even though it’s only the second race and it’s not the U.S. Nationals, for me it’s an incredible personal and professional victory to be able to compete with the team that I’m with.”

Just behind Pritchett and Force, Doug Kalitta finished third. Clay Millican and Antron Brown rounded out the top-five.

As for the championship point battle, Doug Kalitta currently leads Steve Torrence by a mere eight points after two events so far this season. With the runner-up finish, Brittany Force sits third, 38 back from Kalitta. Clay Millican is two back from Force, and Leah Pritchett is fifth, two points back from Millican.

On Sunday, Tim Wilkerson defeated 16-time champion, John Force in the Funny Car Finals to earn his 19th career win. The victory marked Wilkerson’s first career win in Phoenix. Wilkerson defeated Force with a pass of 3.937 seconds at 320.43 mph. Force ran a 4.016 second pass at 275.34 mph. Prior to the Finals, Wilkerson outran Chad Head, followed by Ron Capps in the Quarterfinals and Robert Hight in the Quarterfinals.

“I am just happy to be here,” said Wilkerson. “We’re very excited about what happened here today. That’s the best run we had all weekend (in the final).”

Finishing third and fourth just behind John Force were his John Force Racing teammates, Robert Hight and Courtney Force. Defending series champion, Del Worsham rounded out the top-five.

Ron Capps leads the Funny Car points with 183 points. Currently second is john Force with 168 points, followed by Robert Hight with 158 points, Del Worsham with 154 points and this past weekend’s winner, Tim Wilkerson with 147 points.

Up next on the schedule for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainsville Raceway on March 17-20. The Finals will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20.

CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Top Fuel Results:

1.) Leah Pritchett

2.) Brittany Force

3.) Doug Kalitta

4.) Clay Millican

5.) Antron Brown

6.) Dave Connolly

7.) Tony Schumacher

8.) Terry McMillen

9.) Shawn Langdon

10.) Steve Torrence

11.) Steven Chrisman

12.) J.R. Todd

13.) Scott Palmer

14.) Richie Crampton

15.) Troy Buff


CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Funny Car Results:

1.) Tim Wilkerson

2.) John Force

3.) Robert Hight

4.) Courtney Force

5.) Del Worsham

6.) Jack Beckman

7.) Ron Capps

8.) Tommy Johnson Jr.

9.) Alexis DeJoria

10.) Jeff Diehl

11.) Matt Hagan

12.) Jim Campbell

13.) Cruz Pedregon

14.) John Hale

15.) Chad Head

16.) Terry Haddock

Photo Credit: NHRA Communications Department