Photo Credit: Dote Racing
CHARLOTTE, NC (April 17, 2013) – This weekend’s Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will present a unique challenge for Dote Racing driver Leah Pruett, as she’ll be competing against three other drivers for the first time in her brief Top Fuel career. While Pruett admits that she’s unaccustomed to four-wide racing, she is comforted by the fact that the venue for this one-of-a-kind event is the luxurious zMax Dragway, often referred to as “the Bellagio of Dragstrips”. The former NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series champion has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success at zMax Dragway, winning back-to-back Pro Mod titles at the facility’s fall race in 2011 and 2012. She was also a runner-up in the Pro Mod class at the 2012 Four-Wide event.
“Hands down, there is no other track I look forward to racing at more than zMax Dragway,” said Pruett. “Not only is the facility breathtaking, but the fans are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. So far, I have been fortunate to have a great deal of success at this track, and I hope that continues this weekend.”
Despite her successful history at zMax Dragway, Pruett is quick to acknowledge the challenges presented by this weekend’s event, which is the only race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series where competitors race using the track’s unique four-lane configuration.
“In 17-years of NHRA drag racing, I have never competed against more than one racer at a time, so I am not exactly sure what to expect other than twice the thunder and twice the nitro fumes,” said Pruett. “There are also two Christmas trees on the starting line so that will be an adjustment as well.”
As part of her preparation for her Top Fuel debut at the event, Pruett has looked back on the 2011 Four-Wide race, when she severed as a clutch mechanic on Brian Thiel’s Nitro Funny Car. Pruett believes that experience will help her mentally prepare for this weekend’s event.
“I’ve experienced the Four-Wide race from a crew member perspective, and I know that there is a lot of pressure to maintain pace with the other competitors,” said Pruett. “As a driver, it’s also critical to maintain a synchronized starting line routine. I realize that being a crew member and being a driver are two totally different things, but I hope my previous experience will help me get comfortable quickly.”
In her first three events behind the wheel of the Dote Racing dragster, Pruett has already shown how quickly she can adapt to new surroundings. She qualified for her first Top Fuel event at the season-opener in Pomona and then recorded her first round win two weeks later in Phoenix. She has already drawn praise for her quick starting line reaction times, something that could prove to be a key factor at the Four-Wide event.
“It’s my number one goal to leave the starting line as fast as I can,” she said. “I need to make sure I’m not distracted by the other three cars and just try to make the best run possible. It doesn’t matter how many opponents we’re facing, I just want that win light for my team.”