It’s no secret that when Gary Pritchett announced that he was driving the N3 Boatworks Top Alcohol Funny Car owned by Nitro Funny Car Driver Jonnie Lindberg for the first time in competition at the biggest NHRA drag race of the year, all eyes would be on him. Not only was he driving in a highly competitive class he was also turning wrenches for NHRA Top Fuel points leader and driver of the CAPCO Contractors dragster, Steve Torrence. We had the opportunity to sit down with Pritchett after the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and see just how real it got.
Tell Us About Your Weekend At The U.S. Nationals? There was a lot of preparation that went into making the weekend happen between renewing your Top Alcohol Funny Car license at the 2018 Indy test, finding sponsorship, and getting the car ready to race, how did you do it all?
“There was an overwhelming amount of support from the moment we made the announcement that I would drive Jonnie’s car at Indy. I never felt stressed about it because I had an amazing support system that helped me along the way. From N3 Boatworks coming on as the primary sponsor to my wife Leah, the Lagana brothers, Scott Palmer, Steve-A-Rita, Aerodine, LANDMECO, the Torrence’s and of course Jonnie, it all got done!
In regards to the actual race, it was an unforgettable weekend, no matter the outcome, I was representing “crew guy nation.” It was definitely a dream come true for sure.”
How we’re you able to balance driving the Top Alcohol Funny Car and working on the clutch for Steve Torrence?
“I mentally had to prepare and tell myself to keep my cool when doing both driving and working on the car. You can easily psych yourself out and make mistakes. I made sure to pay extra close attention and remain focused on the task at hand.”
What was it like racing in the semifinal round at Indy on Monday?
“The semifinal round I was racing against one of my hero’s Sean Bellameur, he’s awesome. We went up there and just did our normal deal, I cut a decent light, we slowed it down a little bit because the track was hot, we just wanted to go 5.59, we went 5.59 and he went 5.54 and out ran us, but other than that it was just a good race.”
You ran the number 296 on the side of the car which was your godmother and IHRA Funny Car Icon Bunny Burkett’s competition number for over 44 years, what was it like having Bunny on the starting line during your NHRA debut?
It meant the world for me to have bunny behind the car. Since I was a child, I watched her and I kept telling myself in the car “this is for you Bebe!” Bebe is the nickname I gave her when I was a little kid. Repping her number was incredible!
What is next for Gary Pritchett?
My main concern right now is to win the 2018 Mello Yello Top Fuel championship with the CAPCO boys. As for GP the driver, I plan to continue racing Bunny’s car, until the opportunity arises to run the Top Alcohol Funny Car again.
Any last remarks?
First off I want to congratulate my wife Leah on bringing home the Indy Wally with a win in Factory Stock. And second, I just want to say thank you to everyone for their support. I say this a lot we are one big family out at the racetrack and we’re in this together. The support from all the crew guys from other teams, their significant others, and family was pretty amazing to me.
For all of the latest news regarding Gary Pritchett check out:
About N3 Boatworks
N3 Boatworks is Indianapolis’ premier marine dealer and home of all your Nautique and Supreme Tow Boat needs. They pride themselves on providing customers with the highest level of customer service and advice. N3 Boatworks is a team of people who are passionate about being on the water. They love boating, skiing, wakeboarding, and all the great things that come with the nautical lifestyle. N3 Boatworks want to share their passion with you and promises to get you exactly what you need.
LANDMECO is Scandinavia's largest producer of poultry equipment. It is based in Ølgod, Denmark, where they have designed and manufactured products for over 40 years. From the very start, LANDMECO’s ambition has been to create products that are not only good for the birds, but also are functional, reliable, and provides their customers with overall 'good value for their money'. LANDMECO does this by working closely together with their customers, by thinking smarter, and by always striving for a better solution.