Hangar 24 Brewery will be sponsoring fellow Redlands native, and NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racer, Leah Pritchett at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona this weekend. She will be competing for Dote Racing at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals from February 6-9, and the 50th Annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in November, which Hangar 24 Brewery will also be sponsoring.
Pritchett (who formerly raced under the name Leah Pruett) grew up in Redlands, California in a racing family. Hangar 24 was also born in Redlands, where it opened its doors in 2008 in a renovated hangar across from the Redlands Airport.
“Here in Redlands we like to support our own. That’s a major reason I chose to open our brewery here, and it’s one of the reasons we chose to sponsor a driver from Redlands,” said owner and master brewer Ben Cook. “I’m excited to see how our new logo looks at 300 miles per hour!”
Pritchett participated in her first race on the day of her eighth birthday- the youngest age allowed by the sport. That first race was at Pomona, the same track where she will race again this weekend. She continued on to earn 37 wins as a Junior Dragster and has taken multiple titles as a Funny Car Nitro Driver since earning her license in that class in 2008. Her career has spanned more than sixteen years and multiple events, and this past year saw her acquire her NHRA Top Fuel License with Dote Racing. The 2013 season served as Pritchett’s rookie year in that class and included a semi-final finish at NHRA Kansas Nationals and a nomination for 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year award.
“I am extremely excited to be partnering with Hangar 24 Brewery for our Pomona races,” said Pritchett. “I couldn’t think of a better hometown partner to work with. I have watched it grow from a small brewery in a little hangar, to a large successful business that has created arguably the best brewed beer. Hangar 24 Brewery is a fast growing company, and I’m confident that our 300 mph Gumout Top Fuel dragster will help it expand even faster.”
The Circle K NHRA Winternationals serves as the opener for the 24-event NHRA season, and is the crucial first step toward chasing a championship title. It also serves as the first opportunity for fans to see the new cars and their paint jobs, of which Hangar 24’s logo will be a part. After going on the road for races across the United States in 2014, Pritchett will return to Pomona in November for the 50th Annual Auto Club NHRS finals, once again bearing Hangar 24 Brewery’s logo.
Hangar 24 Brewery’s logo will appear on Pritchett’s car as well as her support truck, and Hangar 24 Brewery beer will be served in her pit alongside the track.
About Hangar 24:
Hangar 24 Brewery was founded in 2008 across from the Redlands, California airport. Widely known for their flagship beer, Orange Wheat, the brewery takes its name from the hangar in which Founder and Master Brewer Ben Cook and his fellow pilots would meet up with family and friends after a day of flying. They would share stories, barbecue, play music and enjoy Ben’s latest batch of homebrews. Hangar 24 Brewery embodies that spirit: good beer, a love of flying and the pure enjoyment of being among good friends.
About Leah Pritchett and Dote Racing:
Pritchett, whose maiden name was Pruett, gained her NHRA Funny Car license in 2008 and began piloting Top Fuel dragsters in 2013. She qualified in her first NHRA national event in Top Fuel last year at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
The Dote Racing team, led by crew chief Doug Kuch, is based in Monroe, Ohio and is beginning the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello with sophomore Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett. Pritchett began her professional Top Fuel career one year ago at the 2013 NHRA season opener in Pomona. At just her second race, Pritchett upset reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon in the first round at Phoenix. At Topeka, Leah advanced to the semi-finals with victories over Top Fuel race winners Anton Brown and Doug Kalitta. The Dote Family, a three generation racing team, began in drag racing in the 1980s and is currently operated by Mike Dote, and his wife, Connie. The Dote Racing racing team joined the Top Fuel ranks in 2009 and is focused on creating a top caliber effort in 2014 with the new Gumout and Hangar 24 Brewery involvement.
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