Getting to Know Leah Pritchett – More Than a Driver
I Met Leah Pritchett Driver of Gumout Top Fueler
Thanks to friends from Gumout, I met Leah Pritchett at her pits during the Arizona NHRA race at Wild Horse Pass. Check this out:
- She’s always been daddy’s girl at the track
- She’s just the driver
NOPE! Both are TOTALLY FALSE! Check it out…
Ya know how before you meet someone you start to anticipate what they’re like? I guess you’d say it’s just guessing, but I just figured I knew a little more about Leah before I arrived… OK. Yes. She’s good looking… Better looking in person too and believe this too: Easy to like! Our interview could have been done quicker except for all the friends stopping by to wish her luck.
After a disappointing first round loss, I expected Leah to be down. I would be! Losing first round sucks even if it’s a, “Run watch-cha brung” Wednesday night at your local track. She wasn’t happy, but she took it in stride. Running 15 races this year with the help of Gumout (up from only 12 last year) she’s got plenty to look forward to. Plus, she ran back to back career bests in qualifying even with any ear buds that help her communicate with her team. Distracted? No. Ear drums rattled? She bought two more pairs so she’d have a backup, so you decide.
As we talked, I found out no, she’s not wide open all the time… At least not on the track. Wearing as many hats as needed to get the job done for 2014, she’s got the big new sponsor, all the rigs rapped with the new colors, this cool new logo… but the driving’s only about 3% of the work she does. No, on an up and coming team, Leah’s not just the driver. She mixes the fuel, of course packs her own parachute and is always switched on for marketing.
Case in point… Leah’s got her phone in her hand here getting introduced to the crowd. No doubt for her Twitter and Facebook pages. As she’s building her team, her driving skills (best reaction time of round one!)
So not just the driver, but she’s on the gas nearly all the time… but like I said, not daddy’s girl as you might guess.
Leah started Jr. dragster racing at 8 years old and knew at about 13 she wanted to race professionally. At 18 or so, she started racing for other teams to go faster and attend more races. Along the way, Dad’s influence wasn’t always positive. With skills on the volleyball court good enough for her to think of a possible scholarship, Dad saw sports as a distraction and wondered if Leah was working hard enough to make it. Well, I’d say she did! Finally, Leah chose Sportsman racing over the scholarship and now drives Top Fuel, the pinnacle of NHRA racing. The fastest machines on the planet! (and still got her college degree!)
It was my pleasure to meet Leah and spend just a little time with her. Even as a nobody at MyRideisMe.com, she followed up with a gracious and timely email. That’s more than I can say for this story! It’s great to have another team to root for!