BAYTOWN, Texas - Leah Pritchett piloted her Papa John’s dragster to the Top Fuel victory Sunday at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. This was Leah’s third win of the season and moved her into first place in Top Fuel, defending Funny Car champion Ron Capps also earned a win at the NHRA SpringNationals outside of Houston.
Pritchett raced a 3.781-second pass at 321.96 mph to defeat Steve Torrence who ran a 3.787 at 322.11 in his Capco Contractors dragster. This is Pritchett’s fourth career victory and third of the season.
“Our goal was to leave as the points leader and that was not easy at all,” said Pritchett, who takes over the points lead with the victory. “Going into the final we said this is our bounce back and we’re going to keep it interesting. Never been in a position to really be counting points and I know it is early in the season, but I’m definitely enjoying that.”
Pritchett raced past Scott Palmer, Doug Kalitta and defending champion Antron Brown en route to the victory. Torrence faced Shawn Reed, Troy Coughlin Jr. and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican before seeing Pritchett in the final round.
Defending Funny Car champion, Ron Capps, claimed his first victory of the season when he outran Robert Hight with a 4.004 pass at 284.33 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Hight pushed his AAA Texas Chevy Camaro to a 4.107 at 202.88 in his first runner-up effort this season. It is Capps’ 51st career win and third at Houston.
“These things become so hard to win these days,” Capps said.
Lincoln Electric is a proud partner of Don Schumacher Racing.
“But you take things for granted where I felt like we should’ve won at any of those first three races of the season. NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car division has to be the most competitive thing in the world right now; its cut-throat.”
Hight experienced engine problems and crossed the center line before the finish line while Capps’ engine violently exploded as he reached the finish.
Capps pushed past Todd Simpson, 16-time world champion John Force and teammate Jack Beckman before facing Hight in the finals. Hight defeated Jim Campbell, J.R. Todd and fellow John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force before falling to Capps.
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the Eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals April 28-30 at zMax Dragway.