POMONA, CA (Feb. 12, 2013) — The most recently licensed NHRA Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett will be making her Top Fuel debut at the upcoming historic NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., February 14-17. The ink on her license is officially dry as she successfully finished her cross over license from Nitro Funny Car to Top Fuel in the Dote Racing dragster, tuned by Doug Kuch at the PRO Winter Warm up at Palm Beach Intl. Raceway last month.
Competing at the Winternationals in Pomona will not only be the Dote Racing team’s first of 14 scheduled races and start of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, it will also mark the team’s West Coast debut, and the beginning of Pruett’s pursuit of rookie honors.
“It feels great to begin our race season at the first race of the season,” said Connie Dote, manager and co-owner of Dote Racing. “Pomona is one of those historic tracks, where everything begins and ends, and we can’t wait to make our West Coast debut at Pomona.” In prior years the Dote Racing team has elected not to compete on the west coast, making the Gainesville national event their season opener. “Not starting the season at Pomona makes you feel a little, or actually a lot, behind the eight ball, but we have larger goals for this team and this season, and beginning at Pomona is just the start.”
For many, the thought of love, chocolate and flowers come to mind when the date February 14th starts to near. That is not necessarily the case for the new Top Fuel licensee Pruett, that date will reunite her with the track that holds roots to her first love, drag racing and brings with it the best Valentines Day present one could ask for, an NHRA Top Fuel debut.
“My very first pass down a race track was at Pomona on my eighth birthday, and we had to tie a pink ribbon to my roll cage to let everyone know it my was my rookie race, as mandated by the NHRA” said Pruett. “You might even see a small strip of pink tape on the roll cage this weekend, as a symbol of the completion of one chapter of my life, and the beginning of a new one, and as a rookie at that.” The Auto Club Raceway in Pomona is where many of Pruett’s early days were spent learning the basics of drag racing. “Pomona will forever be my home track, which makes this debut that much more special.” added Pruett.
Pruett, who was born and raised in Southern California currently resides in Indiana, and is looking forward to this homecoming-like debut. “It will be awesome see many of the people throughout the week that I have worked with or raced against throughout the past years who have all, in some way, helped me become the racer I am today and help me start my professional career.”
The 2013 season will mark Top Fuel crew chief Doug Kuch’s second consecutive year tuning under the Dote Racing banner, and fourth for the Dote family. Although this team has not competed in Pomona before, Kuch has tuned various Top Fuel dragsters down the Auto Club Raceway for numerous years.
“I am very much looking forward to running the Winternationals and kicking off our season here” commented Kuch. “Pomona can be a very fast track, and I believe we have a consistent racecar capable of going rounds and posting some competitive numbers on the scoreboards.”
The next stops on Dote Racing’s schedule include the Arizona Nationals at Firebird Intl. Raceway in Phoenix, AZ, followed by the Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL.