NHRA nitro dragsters ‘blast off’ to incredible speeds at Phoenix test

Lear Pritchett turned a 3.654 pass during testing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. (Photo: Don Schumacher Racing)

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season gets underway this weekend, and the competition is going to be tough.

Three days of testing took place at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix last week, and both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes saw times turned down the track that had never been ran before.

In Top Fuel, it was Don Schumacher Racing’s Leah Pritchett who went to the top of the timing sheets on Saturday with a 3.654 pass at 331.85 mph, which unofficially stands as the quickest elapsed time in drag racing history.

While it marked Pritchett’s first time breaking the 330 mph barrier, it certainly wasn’t a one-off, as she set three of the best four runs over the three days of testing.

“I have to be totally honest, we didn’t come out here to be the quickest,” said Pritchett. “That wasn’t the goal. The goal was to get the power that we created in the offseason to the track. We exceeded our expectations. For it to blast off a .65 on a warmer day than Friday, man I’m stoked for (my team), that’s a lot of hard work and they just put it on the track.”

Meanwhile, John Force Racing driver Courtney Force unofficially broke the record for the quickest elapsed time ever in the Funny Car class in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. Force posted the three quickest elapsed times overall during the Funny Car test, with a 3.804-second run on Friday and two 3.847-second runs.

“We’re coming off a great test heading into Pomona,” Courtney Force said. “We’re really looking forward to going to Pomona and kicking off the 2017 NHRA season. We’ve won the Winternationals before, so we’re hoping to go out there and do it again.”

Drivers best times:

Top Fuel:

1. Leah Pritchett – 3.654

2. Steve Torrence – 3.691

3. Brittany Force – 3.695

4. Doug Kalitta – 3.697

5. Antron Brown – 3.701

Funny Car:

1. Courtney Force – 3.803

2. Ron Capps – 3.854

3. John Force – 3.856

4. Robert Hight – 3.859

5. Jack Beckman – 3.874

=. Matt Hagan – 3.874