HOUSTON (April 28) – Leah Pruett won’t stay down long after a rare first-round loss in the NHRA Pro Mod Series by ProCare Rx. Pruett and her R2B2 Racing team vow to get back to work after she was eliminated on Saturday night from the O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals Royal Purple Raceway.
“We’re going to test on Monday,” Pruett said. “We’ve got a lot of things we want to fix with the car, and I’ve got a lot of things I want to fix inside the driver compartment. Hopefully, that will prove advantageous.
“I’m really not sure what’s going on. Last year, I had spectacular lights, and earlier this year in testing, it was awesome. Now, I don’t know, at these races, I just can’t get it. I need to work on something.”
Pruett lost in the first round to Troy Coughlin despite running a better elapsed time. Pruett went 5.972 seconds at 249.86 mph in her ProCare Rx Ford Mustang, but lost to Coughlin’s pass of 5.997 seconds at 247.70 mph. The difference was Coughlin’s better reaction time.
“This will be the first time in Pro Mod that I’ve ever had to watch on Sunday,” Pruett said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been out in the first round in Pro Mod, so it’s definitely a bummer. But hey, it happens to everybody. There’s a first for everything. I had my first win and a lot of success last year, and now we’re working out some bugs. But we’ll get it.
“I’m not going to let this get me down. I’ll just prove them wrong later.”
The R2B2 team will likely work on 60-foot times on Monday during a planned test at Royal Purple Raceway, as Pruett said those crucial times are also down from 2011.
“There’s no excuse,” Pruett said. “It’s the third race out of 10 this year. Luckily, the two guys ahead of us aren’t going to be running away with the points because they lost too. That’s something I was concerned with. Hopefully, Brad (Brand) can go out there and block the rest of them. Most people don’t like to talk about blocking, but Brad’s out there running hard and can easily win this race.”
Brand, Pruett’s crew chief and teammate as a driver, advanced to the second round of Pro Mod with a run of 5.977 seconds at 245.49 mph to beat Chip King, who went 6.074 at 248.25 mph. Brand, the No. 4 qualifier, faces No. 5 qualifier Kenny Lang in the second round.
Pruett, third in the Pro Mod points standings, wasn’t the only top driver to lose Saturday. Points leader Mike Castellana and No. 2 Rickie Smith also fell.