As the NHRA season winds across the country to its eventual close in Pomona, California class championships are being decided in many of the various forms of competition that the organization promotes. Among them is the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown. This heads-up class pits Drag Paks against COPO Camaros, and Cobra Jet Mustangs. It is awesome to watch, it is escalating in a performance scale that few can comprehend, and it is as cut throat as any form of drag racing the world has to offer. For the 2018 season, it came down to a three horse race at the end of the year and all three cars did battle at the Texas Motorplex last weekend.
Steven Bell and Archie Kohn were in Chevrolets and Leah was in her Challenger Drag Pak. They were the central players in this drama with others like Randy Eakins and Kevin Skinner thrown in to stir the pot and hunt potential champions. As the dramatic race shook out, Pritchett handled her business and her team locked up the championship in the semi-finals and then went on to finish the race in fine fashion with the final round victory to complete an awesome season.
This is Pritchett’s second championship as she has been an NHRA Heritage Series funny car champ as well. The full story from Dodge is below.
Here’s the full press release from Dodge –
October 7, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Leah Pritchett clinched the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals near Dallas, racing to her third consecutive win of the season and earning her first championship in her first full year in the class.
The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown title is the third for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett, who also captured 2000-2001 Jr. Dragster Division 7 championships and the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Championship in the Nostalgia Funny Car class.
Pritchett’s event win at Dallas was the fifth in the seven-event NHRA Factory Stock Showdown season for the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, the brand’s modern-day “package” car, and also the fifth in a row for a Mopar Dodge Drag Pak driver. The crown was the second earned in less than a month by a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver, following the championship claimed by Geoff Turk in the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Factory Super Cars class on September 23.
Pritchett entered competition at the Texas Motorplex facility coming off victories at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in early September and at the NHRA Midwest Nationals two weeks ago, where she became the first NHRA driver in the Factory Stock Showdown class to make a pass in the seven-second range. She qualified No. 10 and posted her quickest pass of the weekend, an 8.079-second elapsed time (ET) at 169.64 mph, to defeat Aaron Stanfield in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
After advancing past Randy Taylor in the quarterfinals, Pritchett moved on to a dramatic semifinals grouping that also featured co-points leaders Stephen Bell and Arthur Kohn, with Pritchett trailing each by a single point. She squared off against Bell with her season on the line, leaving first with a clutch .038-second reaction time and recording a winning 8.107/169.00 mark. Kohn was up next, needing to win his semifinals match against Kevin Skinner to extend the championship battle to the final round. Skinner took the win, crowning Pritchett as the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Champion. She would add the cherry on top by taking out No. 1 qualifier Skinner in the final with an arrow-straight 8.106/169.02 pass down the track to earn her third consecutive win.
In Top Fuel, Pritchett overcame a No. 9 qualifying spot outside of the top half of the field to defeat the higher-qualified Kebin Kinsley, posting a 3.831/324.20 run en route to leading from start to finish. In the quarterfinals against Clay Millican, the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver matched her opponent’s .072 reaction but dropped a cylinder right at launch, ending any chance at a deep Dallas run. Pritchett is fourth in the Top Fuel standings with her hopes for two titles still alive heading into the all-important final three-race stretch.