Driver of the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma Top Fuel Dragster
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Team owner: Don Schumacher
Category: Top Fuel
Crew chiefs: Todd Okuhara/Neal Strausbaugh
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 8/8
No. 1 Qualifiers: 12
2020 points finish: 4th
Best points finish: 4th (2018 – 2020)
Playoff appearances: Five (2016 – 2020)
Career-best elapsed time: 3.631-seconds (Pomona II, 2018)
Career-best speed: 334.15-mph (Phoenix, 2018)
Category: Factory Stock Showdown Series
Crew chief: Kevin Helms
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 3/1
No. 1 Qualifiers: Two
Best points finish: 1st (2018)
Career-best elapsed time: 7.852 seconds (Gainesville 2019)
Career-best speed: 173.94 mph (Charlotte I 2019)
Residence: Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Hometown: Redlands, Calif.
Date of birth: May 26, 1988
Height/weight: 5-foot-9, 125 pounds
Hobbies: Wake surfing, snowboarding, fitness, bracket drag racing, volleyball, motocross, desert riding
Social media: @LeahPruettTF, Twitter; LeahPruettTF, Facebook; leahPruett_TF, Instagram
Captured the 2018 SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown series championship in her first full season competing in the class
Three-time Pro Mod event winner: Charlotte II 2011, Las Vegas II 2011, Charlotte I 2012
Won the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Championship in the Nostalgia Funny Car class
First person to break the 250-mph barrier in a Nostalgia Funny Car
Earned 37 Jr. Dragster event titles and two Division 7 Championships: 2000, 2001
Got her start in the sport in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League at age eight
2021 will be her 25th consecutive season competing in the NHRA
At eight events during the season, Pruett pulls double-duty competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown series simultaneously
Has held NHRA competition licenses in: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Mod, Factory Stock, Nostalgia Funny Car, Nostalgia Eliminator I, Super Comp
Tenacious Leah Pruett had her sights set on clinching a first Top Fuel world championship in 2020, and by racing to the semifinals at three of the first five events, a runner-up finish at the U.S. Nationals, and another semifinal finish in Gainesville, she appeared to be on-track to have a viable shot at clinching the crown. The Southern California native maintained a ‘top three’ ranking throughout seven events, and was within striking distance of the No. 1 spot until the second-to-last race of the year when rival Steve Torrence extended his point lead to a margin where Pruett was unable to catch-up. Despite learning that she was no longer in championship contention, Pruett fought hard to finish high on the leaderboard. Pruett, who joined DSR in 2016, finished in the No. 4 spot in 2018 and 2019, and by racing to the quarterfinals at the Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Pruett locked-in a fourth-place finish for the third consecutive year.
Throughout 2020, Pruett pulled double-duty, competing in the full six-event Factory Stock Showdown Series schedule while simultaneously competing in the COVID-19-abbreviated 11-event NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Admittedly, 2020 was a tough year for Pruett and her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak team. The 32-year-old, who had clinched the Factory Stock Showdown series title in 2018, battled through a tough Factory Stock class to qualify for all six 2020 FSS events. She recorded two round wins throughout the season, and is ready to come back swinging next year as she and teammate Mark Pawuk prepare to hit the track in their brand-new 2021 Dodge Challenger Drag Paks.
Leah Pruett’s tenure with DSR began in 2016. She started the year driving for Bob Vandergriff Racing with the promise of her first full-time season competing in the Top Fuel category. After winning her first Mello Yello Top Fuel title in the season’s second event, the organization folded just two races later when the team’s primary sponsor died unexpectedly at a young age.
The Southern California native who lives in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. worked to find ways to compete in the next few races to keep her dream alive of qualifying for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs at the end of the year.
Ron Thames and the FireAde 2000 Personal Fire Suppression System stepped in and supported her for four events. Pennzoil and Mopar joined in with support for three others, and Albrecht’s Fast Track motorcycle shop backed her at Chicago.
A major jolt to her career happened in August at Seattle when Papa John’s Pizza joined Pruett and DSR for its first foray into professional motorsports with a five-race sponsorship that helped to fulfill her dream of competing in her first Countdown to the Championship.
Joining DSR in 2016 brought Pruett’s nitro career full circle, as she had earned her nitro Funny Car license with DSR 10 years prior.
Pruett’s journey to the pinnacle of drag racing began when she and her family joined the NHRA Jr. Dragster youth racing program where she won 37 trophies between the ages of eight and 16.
As soon as she was old enough, Pruett got behind the wheel of a full-size drag race car, and continued to light up the scoreboard in 190-mph NHRA Sportsman categories. At 18, she built a Nostalgia nitro Funny car with her father Ron, a former Bonneville Salt Flats record holder, and became the first woman to run in the 5-second range in a Nostalgia Funny Car.
She also set the record for fastest Nostalgia nitro Funny Car, being the first to exceed 250-mph. In 2010, she branched off from her family’s racing operation and began driving for Steve Plueger, where she became the Hot Rod Heritage Series champion, winning multiple prestigious races and setting records.
It wasn’t too long before her success was noticed by professional Funny Car and Pro Mod team owner Roger Burgess. In 2011, she moved to Atlanta to begin driving Pro Modified cars for his R2B2 racing operation, where she won three national events in two seasons.
Two years later, she joined Dote Racing in the ranks of Top Fuel and finished the year ranked 15th despite competing in only half of the 24-race schedule. She was a finalist for NHRA Road to The Future rookie award despite missing 12 races.