CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2013) – After successfully qualifying for her first NHRA Top Fuel race at the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., Leah Pruett and the Dote Racing Top Fuel team are looking to maintain their forward momentum at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix this weekend.
Just a few days ago in Pomona, Pruett and the Ohio based Dote Racing team, lead by crew chief Doug Kuch and assistant crew chief Glen Camp, qualified the Top Fuel dragster in the 14th position in what is the quickest Top Fuel qualifying field in history to date. Pruett, a Road to the Future Award candidate was paired against number three qualifier Doug Kalitta. Both competitors left the starting line with almost identical reaction times, Kalitta with an .041 and Pruett an .046. Unfortunately for Pruett, Kalitta was the first one to cross the finish line and capture the round win posting a 3.799 to Pruett’s 3.850 elapse time.
Although the Dote Racing dragster did not advance to the second round in Pomona, the team’s spirits are high coming in to the 29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals. “There were a lot of firsts for our team this past weekend” stated Pruett. “We are pleased to have qualified for not only the first race of the season, but my very first Top Fuel race ever! Now we are looking to use that data and experience to improve this weekend.”
Pruett commented on her emotions throughout the weekend, “Saturday was definitely a nerve wrecking day, as our Friday night session did not hold in the top 12, and it came down to our last qualifying session to get in.” After posting a 3.85 to get in the show, the ESPN2 camera crews were able to catch an excited Pruett at the top end, “You would have thought we won the final round of the US Nationals, I was so excited, it meant so much to me to get us in the show. I knew Doug Kuch would give me the car to get in, I just needed to get it down there.”
One of Dote Racing’s immediate goals is to qualify at every event entered, and it looks as though they are on the right path to fulfilling that goal. “I believe our team’s progression is right on track, and now is the time to turn up the heat” said Connie Dote, manager and co-owner of Dote Racing. “We have accomplished many things in a short amount of time, and the next order of business is to solidly qualify in the show early, and to go rounds.” Many of those accomplishments include the hiring and licensing of Top Fuel rookie Leah Pruett, expanding their schedule to include Pomona and Phoenix for the first time, and qualifying at their debut at Pomona.
The team plans to apply their consistency and forward momentum to Firebird Intl. Raceway this weekend to accomplish their goals of lowering their qualifying elapse times, and advancing into the later rounds. For Pruett, she will bring with her over a decade of experience competing at this racetrack in multiple categories, ranging from Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars, Nostalgia Eliminator, and even Jr. Dragsters.