Leah Pruett Takes Top Honors at Home Track


Fresh off of a runner-up finish from the most recent event on the NHRA tour, Leah Pruett took the Sparkling Ice Spiked Top Fuel dragster to the top of the leaderboard on Friday night during the rescheduled NHRA Winternationals, powering her 11,000-horsepower machine to a 3.780 E.T. at 321.88 mph under the lights to earn the provisional No. 1 qualifying position.

Pruett, a native of nearby Redlands, entered Auto Club Raceway of Pomona following what could be considered a ‘get healthy’ weekend in Sonoma. After an uncharacteristic string of race weekend struggles, Pruett and the Sparkling Ice Spiked team found themselves back in familiar territory when they battled through the Top Fuel field to advance to the final round at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the second stop on the three-race Western Swing.

“Based on the last race and tonight’s provisional No. 1 qualifier, I feel like our team is a bit like Benjamin Button,” said Pruett, an eight-time Top Fuel winner. “Our season is going the other way, and is headed in the right direction, which is what we’ve been working towards. The glimpses of glee I felt from pulling the parachutes and turning off the race track, we’re inching towards our own expectations. It’s been a while since I felt that and our team has felt that, and it’s not by accident, it’s by diligence.”

Pruett, a 12-time No. 1 qualifier, is hoping to maintain her position at the top of the field throughout Saturday’s two qualifying sessions to earn the pole for the 13th time in her career. If it sticks, Pruett would be in prime position to repeat her 2017 performance which saw her race from the pole to the winner’s circle, and she’d love nothing more than to capture her first victory of the season in front of friends and family at her home track.

“I remember being in this press room in 2017 when we went No. 1 and then went on to win the race,” she said reflecting on her years of memories at the Pomona, Calif. venue, which include entering her first Jr. Dragster event on her eighth birthday, kickstarting her NHRA career. “Tomorrow’s a whole new day, and the track could get better, but for us, it’s all about our perspective on our own team and our own car. The happiness comes from finding the success in what we’re doing and knowing we’re in the right direction, and to share that happiness with so many racers that I competed with growing up, it’s such a nostalgic feeling for me and that’s what this track brings.”

Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 1

The Results: 
Q1: 3.780 E.T. at 321.88 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)