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Pritchett’s WIN Caps Historic Weekend at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, All Three Speed Society Drivers Make Semifinals

With the stable of drivers racing under the Speed Society Racing banner in Top Fuel, ...

With the stable of drivers racing under the Speed Society Racing banner in Top Fuel, we always have great odds of having one of our cars in the winner’s circle. Things really came together for our guys at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, with three of four semi finalists carrying the Speed Society Racing banner. Leah Pritchett and the Papa Johns team kicked off the weekend in spectacular fashion, lowering the boom on her own national record with a #1 qualifying ET of 3.64 seconds. Tennessee native Clay Millican qualified solidly in the #5 spot with a 3.70 and three time and reigning world champion was just behind Millican with a 3.72 run that put him in the #7 spot. With all three cars in the top half of the field, we knew the weekend had the potential to be huge for our guys, and they did not disappoint.

Millican unleashed a 3.65 in the first round, the second quickest run in the history of the sport, to take the win over fuel legend Chris Karamesines, while Leah parlayed a 3.70 elapsed time into a win over Rob Passey. Brown ensured all three cars would race in the second round with a win over Shawn Langdon in a great matchup that was decided by just .04 seconds. In the second round, Millican again dropped a bomb with a second 3.65 blast to send the winningest driver in class history Tony Schumacher, proving he and crew chief David Grubnic are ramping up for the Countdown to the Championship, which starts after Indy in a few weeks. Pritchett also proved her co-crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Joe Barlam had found consistency with a solid 3.71 to take out Scott Palmer and move into the semifinals. Antron sent a message of his own with a stellar 3.68 against Brittany Force, meaning seventy-five percent of the remaining cars were wearing the Speed Society decal.

When the semifinals rolled around, Millican and Pritchett would line up with each other, while points leader Antron would face off with his closest rival in the points chase, Steve Torrence. Clay and Leah left together and were welded together through the first 660 feet, but Millican’s car would start mixing up cylinders downtrack while the Papa Johns dragster blasted to a solid 3.66 that would send her to the finals against the winner of the Brown/Torrence matchup. Clay’s early numbers showed he would have been right ther with her had his Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster not lost those cylinders. In the other semifinal, Antron and his Brian Corradi-tuned Matco Dragster needed every bit of the 3.70 ET to beat out Torrence, who was only a few feet behind at the stripe.

With Pritchett having carried the points lead well into the season and Antron leading currently, the two cars in the finals not only represented two of the top three points earners, they share a home in the Don Schumacher Racing headquarters just outside Indy. Both Anton and Leah will tell you they’re great friends, until those canopies close and their 11,000 horsepower engines cackle to life. The friendships go out the window at that point and both drivers want nothing more than to destroy the competition. On this day, under some of the best conditions seen on the tour all season, the teammates suited up and went to battle, and Leah would end her eleven race drought and return to the winner’s circle when her 3.68 streaked away from Antron, who smoked the tires around halftrack. The win marks Pritchett’s fourth win of the season, tying the legendary Shirley Muldowney for most professional wins by a female in a single season. With seven races remaining on the tour, Pritchett has a great chance to break that record and claim a another piece of NHRA history for herself. All said, it was a great day for our drivers. There aren’t many teams that can say their drivers only lost to each other at the end of the day!

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