NHRA legend Jeb Allen will return to Top Fuel competition when he partners with Don Schumacher Racing at the 31st annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, July 27-29.
The Top Fuel champion of yesteryear will take to the track not as a driver, but as the primary sponsor of Leah Pritchett’s nitro-burning machine. Palomar Builders, the construction company owned and operated by Allen, will flank the sides of Pritchett’s 11,000-horsepower dragster during the northern California event.
“I owe my success in business to the lessons I learned in drag racing,” said Allen, who at 18-years old, became the youngest driver to win in a nitro class at a national NHRA event.
After a hiatus of more than three and a half decades, Allen returns to the highest level of NHRA competition to back one of the sport’s stars on the upswing of her career.
“I became involved in drag racing because my mother and father both raced,” said the 1981 Top Fuel world champion. “I started as a mechanic and then progressed. It’s important to me to be able to give back and to help someone who is progressing in their career. Leah is a rising star in the sport and when the opportunity became available to support her at the Sonoma race, I didn’t hesitate to do so.”
Allen, a resident of Redding, Calif. has longtime ties with NHRA team owner and fellow Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee, Don Schumacher. Allen shared his first winner’s circle, the 1972 NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J., with Schumacher.
“I left drag racing for a while, then started to follow what was going on with the Make-A-Wish team,” explained Allen. “That inspired me to get involved once again. I love everything the Make-A-Wish/DSR partnership has accomplished. It really touched my heart.
“I’m thrilled to be involved with a world-class organization like DSR,” added Allen, who through Palomar Builders has raised $500,000 in donations for Make-A-Wish via three ‘House of Hope’ projects.
“Jeb and I became friends when he was 18 and racing,” said DSR patriarch, Don Schumacher. “We have maintained our friendship through the years. After his retirement from racing he went on to create an incredible construction business and we are honored to have him sponsor Leah’s car in Sonoma.”
In addition to the Palomar Builders logo, Pritchett’s dragster will serve as the canvas for several new associate sponsors, all of which are business associates of Allen’s. Cascade Comfort Services, Humboldt Redwood Company, Meeks Lumber Supply, Muse Concrete, Sentry Plumbing & Fire Protection and Sierra Pacific Windows will all adorn Pritchett’s dragster during the Sonoma event.
“I mentioned it to one of my vendors and he asked how he might get involved. Word spread and then I received a few more calls. I said to myself, maybe if I call some additional suppliers, they may want to jump in, and that’s how it happened,” said Allen of the six Palomar Builders partners who have opted to see their company colors blast down the Sonoma Dragway track at more than 300-mph.
“The companies who have joined me on the car have been involved with Palomar Builders for more than 25 years. Those of us in the building industry here in northern California are one big family.”
“I am extremely honored to represent Palomar Builders on the track,” said the six-time Top Fuel winner and fellow California native, adding “especially since Jeb’s passion, talent and hard work from drag racing serve as the foundation of such a quality company. His name carries so much legacy, and I am thankful he has joined our team. We look forward to putting Palomar Builders and his supporting partners in a place that Jeb is very familiar with, the winner’s circle.”
Leah Pritchett and the Palomar Builders Top Fuel dragster team begin qualifying for the 31st annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. PST.