Anatomy of a record-setting Top Fuel run


Unless you've ridden on top of 11,000 horsepower, Leah Pritchett has more stones than anyone one of us. She's a Top Fuel dragster driver and she holds the record for the fastest pass in NHRA history with a 3.658 run over the 1,000-foot distance at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. She set that record on February 24 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona.

Ken Block's Hoonigan crew happened to be on hand at the event to capture the action and produce the video above.

The video goes through all of the stages of prep: From suiting up, to climbing on board, to buckling in, to connecting the communications equipment, to reaction time practice.

That reaction time practice session apparently shows a slight that is quickly dealt with during a system check.

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Next, it's time to pre-stage the car, wet down the tires in preparation for a burnout, prime that monster engine to start it, then fire it up.

Now the fun stuff begins. Leah nails the throttle and does a burnout through the starting line. She backs it up, her crew scrubs the pebbles off the tires, and she gets ready for the run.

That means checking the fuel, releasing the clutch pack, staging it, watching the tree, releasing the brake, and, BOOM, going like a bat out of hell.

The video shows plenty of countersteer on the tiny steering wheel and not a ton of visibility out of the fuselage-like cockpit.

In the end, we see a heck of a pass, but it may not be the 3.658 at 329.34 mph that set the record. It sounds like one of her crew says 67-7, which would indicate a 3.677 run, just off the pace from that record run. 

No matter how fast she went, this video gives us a good idea of what the Top Fuel experience is like. Of course, video can't convey the emotional and crazy physical elements of this type of racing. The sound is louder than anything you've ever heard, and the feeling of the g forces hitting your body, well, maybe an astronaut could relate but few others could.

Still, this video is worth a watch, if nothing else to see how much cooler Leah Pritchett is than the rest of us.

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