Leah Pritchett takes No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel

MOHNTON, Pa. (AP) Leah Pritchett raced to her first career No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel on Saturday in the Dodge NHRA Nationals.

Pritchett had a 3.705-second pass at 327.35 mph at Maple Grove Raceway. She won in Phoenix this year for her first career victory and is ninth in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

''It feels pretty phenomenal,'' Pritchett said. ''It's right there behind winning a race, but this is do-or-die time. This is the time of digging deep for the Countdown and to be No. 1 at one of the fastest race tracks says a lot about my team. There were a lot of things going on with that run and to be No. 1 is really awesome but we came here to win the race.''

Matt Hagan topped the Funny Car field, Vincent Nobile was fastest in Pro Stock, and Andrew Hines qualified No. 1 in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the third event in the six-race Countdown.

NHRA officials were forced to cancel the second session of qualifying Saturday because of persistent showers and mist. Because the scheduled Friday sessions also were wiped out, racers had only one session to qualify for the final eliminations Sunday.

Hagan pushed his Dodge Charger R/T to a 3.873 at 333.99 to set both ends of the track record. The two-time Funny Car season champion claimed his fifth No. 1 of the season and 26th of his career. He's sixth in the standings with three wins and two runner-up finishes this year.

Nobile had a 6.552 at 211.83 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and points leader Hines ran a 6.784 at 196.22 on a Harley-Davidson.

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