Leah
Pruett-LeDuc

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Leah Pruett CLT Pro Mod Winner over teammate Melanie Troxel

 

Bio
Snippets
Results
Schedule

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Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
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Bio

Name: Leah Pruett-LeDuc
Nickname: The Heartbreaker
Age: 20
Status: Un-single
Years racing: 12
Height: 5' 9"
Birthplace: Redlands, California
Residence: Cherry Valley, California
Racing goals: To drive an NHRA Nitro Funny Car on the circuit… And own my own professional team someday…. someday
Favorite racers: Jack Beckman (NHRA) and Dan Wheldon (IRL)
Philsophy: No free rides
Greatest Influence: My parents for sure
Physical preparation: Running and working out my right arm especially (brake hand)
Mental preparation: Practicing on my Portatree and going through perfect and not so perfect passes in my mind.
Hobbies: Going to my husband’s CORR races, hiking with the dogs, and being productive (I know that’s not a hobby but it’s what I do in my spare time)
Favorite music: Country!
Favorite CD: Audio Adrenaline - Underdog
Personal vehicle: 2002 Toyota Tacoma
Favorite Car: Lamborghini Murcie’lago LP640 (I’ll have it someday.. )
Favorite TV Shows: The Simpsons and NHRA Drag Racing
Favorite Movie: Taladega Nights and Diamond P
Favorite Actor: George Clooney
Favorite Actress: Cameron Diaz
Favorite Food: Bean and Cheese Chimichanga

Leah was born in Redlands California and raised in a racing environment. Her father, Ron Pruett was an entrepreneur and land speed racer. Leah’s father truly wanted to have sons, but it seems the Lord wanted him to have two daughters instead. Her parents took an unusual route of spending family time together by introducing Leah and her sister to the newly formed NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League in 1992. The minimum age requirement was eight years old, so the day Leah turned eight she started drag racing, beginning at the Pomona Fairplex. Jr. Drag racing instantly became her life, She loved the sport, the mechanics, the uniqueness, but most of all the competition. Leah was no weekend warrior; she and her father took her racing very seriously. Leah not only competed in the NHRA circuit, but became National Champion, Regional Champion, 2x Division Champion and 2x track champion, 4x National team Champion and Wicked West Coast Champion. They even traveled the nation to run the IHRA circuit, and she was the first Jr. Drag racer on the west coast to win an Ironman (equivalent to an NHRA Wally). During her last two years of Jr. Drag racing, Leah and her father founded a heads up racing association known as the WICKED WEST COAST 330. Their mission was to allow the older racers the freedom to push their Jr. dragsters to the limit in a shorter distance while allowing the racing to still remain safe. After winning her last championship at age sixteen, Leah and her father left the Jr. Drag racing scene as well as the growing association. The WWC330 still lives on today and has been incorporated into the NHRA Jr. National Events.

This is where the real fun begins. At this time Leah was sixteen and wanting to continue racing, but not in Super Comp like many other Jr. dragster graduates did, due to the costs, time commitment with the NHRA, and low odds of moving up through the ranks. Leah and her family took the route less traveled once more and bought a retired Alcohol Funny Car chassis. Leah raced it throughout California in the CIFCA series with a blown alcohol 450 Chevy, before transforming it into an altered. Now that the car had a ‘32 Bantom roadster body on it, she could compete in the Goodguy’s Vintage racing association. The requirement to run with the group was that the body style of the car must be older than 1978. She raced in a category known as Nostalgia Eliminator 1, which limited the elapse time to 7.60, which is close to 190 mph. Leah loved the group, the people were friendly, the races were only 1-2 days long as oppose to running the 3-4 day NHRA races, and the competition was stiff. However, success did not come as easy for Leah as it had in her Jr. dragster days. Leah and her father struggled with the tune-up for almost a year, for the car was extremely inconsistent, as in always too fast! It was during these years Leah developed a strong work ethic for racing and was determined to make every race in pursuit of a win, even with only a crew of three; Dad, Leah, and of course Mom. Consequently Leah did come out victorious taking a first place win and number one qualifier in Sacramento Ca, along with numerous semi-final appearances in Tucson and Phoenix AZ throughout the 2007 season. Leah had her fare share of tire shake, getting out of the groove and even chassis breakage due to violent tire shake. Piloting the altered for three years taught Leah driving skills that have ultimately enabled her to become comfortable wheeling her nostalgia funny car in a short time. Although Leah was still in high school during this time, she had been working on her first media kit and was able to start a lasting sponsor relationship with Dickies Girl Apparel.

By nature and genetics, Leah is a person of improvement and achievement. Leah and her father both caught the bug of the Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car movement and knew they had to be a part of the highest level of nostalgia drag racing. These funny cars run upward of 240 mph with elapse times dipping into the 5 second range and Leah couldn’t wait to get started. The decision was unanimous, “Lets do it! “. Leah and her father agreed to sell the altered and have a nostalgia funny car chassis built. The relationship between Leah and her father became a partnership. Ron was able to supply the racecar, but it was up to Leah to raise money to cover all of the racing expenses, including maintenance. Ron partnered with Les Leggitt to supply the 426 Hemi for the nostalgia funny car, Les had provided the motor, Ron was providing the car, and Leah began the search to provide the funding. Leah knew she had a difficult challenge ahead of her; to raise a large amount of money before the racecar ever hit’s the strip. After hundreds of cold calls to companies, numerous new media kits sent out and dead ends, she caught a break. Leah’s already established associate sponsor Dickies Girl stepped up to title sponsor on the nostalgia funny car. Leah captured many associate sponsors throughout the building months of the car, and was able to raise enough money to race the nostalgia funny car. However, since the car was not running at this time, Leah needed to assure sponsors of exposure, and she did that by landing her own TV show on the network OCTANE TV named Funny Girl, the show was about the build of the funny car, with much product and logo placement. The show aired for six months and she was happy to experience something so unique and give exposure to her sponsors. However, Leah says she would rather not do anything like that again. At this time Leah was 19 years old and had been enrolled in college full time as a Communications major with an emphasis on mass media for two years. Her college efforts are to serve one purpose only, and that is to provide her with the necessary verbal and marketing skills to help her financially and personally become a professional drag racer on the NHRA circuit.

Simultaneously, during the build of the Nostalgia Funny Car Leah was contacted by team owner Don Schumacher. At the time Gary Scelzi, driver of his Mopar/Oakley Funny Car was announcing his retirement and Don was looking for a replacement. Leah was fortunate enough to have Don request an interview with her at a race in Sonoma CA. There were over 30 other seasoned, semi professional and professional drivers interviewing for this position as well, Leah was undoubtedly the youngest at 19 years old, but not the only female. Don gave Leah the opportunity to make a short 200 foot squirt in the MTS Funny Car later that year in Indianapolis. She proved to him that she was comfortable in an 8,000 horse powered funny car and was ready for more. But Gary Scelzi decided he would not retire, leaving Don with no available room or need for Leah on his team at that time. However, Don being the business man he is, decided not to dismiss Leah and to continue her testing knowing that a good, young, and upcoming female driver is difficult to come by. Don Schumacher has allowed Leah to test his NHRA nitro funny cars on three separate occasions as of August 2008; (August 2007 in Indianapolis IN, February 2008 in Phoenix AZ, June 2008 in Martin MI) After a total of seven runs including tire shake and tire smoke, Leah has made a 700 foot pass at her quickest and fastest time of 274 mph at 5.29 e.t. Don Schumacher Racing has continued to show interest in creating a driver development program with Leah and they are currently arranging for further testing and licensing passes.

Once the nostalgia funny car was finished being built in late 2007, Leah and the crew went to Las Vegas to upgrade her license. During her second run, Leah endured ’new car blues’ when the engine kicked the number four rod out through the block resulting in a fire and oily mess with expensive repairs. Leah executed all safety procedures and got the car stopped and fire put out very quickly, needless to say she passed the safety portion of the test, and got her Specialty Fuel License.

Leah has been competing at NHRA and NFCA sanctioned events since then, and her nitro nostalgia funny car endeavors have proved successful. Despite having a new car and team, Leah has qualified for every race, achieved two semi final finishes and has won more than one round on a hole shot just this year. Leah is very pleased with the 2008 season and is thankful just to be driving such a fast car and compete with the best. Leah and her team have proved to the crowds and competition that they are not to be taken lightly.

On February 16th, 2008 Leah married CORR and SCORE off road racer Todd LeDuc, son of legend off road racer Curt LeDuc.

Snippets


Congrats on your win in Charlotte.

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Pro Mod newcomer Pruett-LeDuc excited about first Indy experience.

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Leah Pruett- LeDuc Crowned NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Champion (Auto Club Raceway - Famoso, Ca - October 17, 2010)

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The 52nd edition of the famed March Meet at the Auto Club Raceway - Famoso, Ca may go down in the record books for having the largest funny car field since 1980, finishing the final rounds on Monday, or providing record breaking runs. But for Leah Pruett-LeDuc, she made her own history by not only winning the event in Funny Car, but also being the first female to do so at the March Meet.

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Nostalgia Funny Car driver Leah Pruett-LeDuc became the first person in history to reach 250 mph in a Nostalgia Funny Car. The record breaking run took place at Sacramento Raceway's 33rd Annual Nitro Nite of Fire on Saturday, where she posted a 6.07 et at 250.37 mph in round one eliminations.

Results


Pro Mod newcomer Pruett-LeDuc excited about first Indy experience

It’s been too long since Leah Pruett-LeDuc was behind the wheel of at Get Screened America Pro Mod Series car at an NHRA event, so this weekend’s 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil couldn’t get started soon enough.

“It is an honor to compete at the US Nationals, especially in the super dynamic and unpredictable class of Pro Mod,” Pruett-LeDuc said. “You would like to tell yourself, it’s just another race, but really it is not. It’s the Big Go.

“The history and prestige behind the U.S. Nationals alone is enough to give you goose bumps when realize you’re going to be a part of it.”

Although there has been a two-month gap in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series schedule, Pruett-LeDuc and the R2B2 Racing crew of the supercharged ProCare Rx Camaro have not sat idly by waiting for the pages of the calendar to turn.

“We made some changes to bring the car up to speed, but not anything drastic,” she said. “We also competed at the ADRL event in Richmond Va., recently, which allowed us to get the ultimate testing experience, where it placed the car, crew and myself back into competition mode.

“Personally I have been on the road with the ProCare Rx Toyota Funny Car team, and enjoy practicing my lights on a Christmas Tree app I downloaded for my phone. It keeps my reactions fresh.”

Although this is just her third Pro Mod race, Pruett-LeDuc is brimming with confidence heading into Indy.

“Every time I get into the Pro Mod car I know I have a fighting chance of the win light coming on in my lane,” she said. “I have so much confidence in (crew chief) Bob Newberry, the crew and equipment. I am blessed to be a part of an established, competitive program, which I give the credit to for our success.

“I am not big on dreaming — I’m a doer more than a dreamer, but you can’t help but imagine how exhilarating that Sunday and Monday would be as you win round after round.”

Qualifying for the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series gets under way with one round of qualifying at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Friday. Qualifying continues Saturday with two sessions starting at 2:30 p.m. and the last chance to make the U.S. Nationals will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Eliminations begin Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and continue on Monday afternoon.

Leah Pruett- LeDuc Crowned NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series CHAMPION( Auto Club Raceway - Famoso, Ca - October 17, 2010 )


The 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship in Nitro Funny Car was clenched by Leah Pruett- LeDuc at the California Hot Rod Reunion, October 16, in Bakersfield CA. After winning the season opener in Bakersfield at the March Meet, Leah maintained a steady lead in the points throughout the season, and was able to wrap up the championship by winning the second round at the CHRR.

The Plueger & Gyger / Deja Vu Showgirls nostalgia funny car made it to the final round at the CHRR in Bakersfield, however the weather decided the final round was ment for another time, and place. Due to a rain out, the final rounds of Top Fuel and Funny Car were rescheduled to be held at the NHRA World Finals in Pomona, CA, November 12-14 to crown the CHRR winners. Due to time restrictions and an abundance of oil downs during the World Finals weekend, the final round between Leah Pruett- LeDuc and Mark Hentges did not happen. Leah was ultimately crowned the winner by her quicker e.t. from the semi final round in Bakersfield, 5.82 elapse time at over 245 mph. To add to the Championship win, Leah and the Plueger team finished of the season by winning the California Hot Rod Reunion, even if by default.

"I was extremely excited about running the final round at Pomona at the National event. We did what we wanted to do, make the 2010 season come full circle with our win at the start, and a win at the end of the season. The Championship alone is sweet, but to end the season with a win makes it that much sweeter" said Pruett-LeDuc. "Although this is the third championship win in a row for the Plueger Team, we really worked hard for this one. This year we were not the fastest or the quickest on the track like we were previously, but we still got it done. There are many people to thank, but must of all Deja Vu Showgirls for their support of me throughout the entire season, and enabling me to race these races to win the championship. I would also like to thank Steve Plueger, my crew chief Paul Trabue, the team, as well as RCD Engineering, Benchmark RV, Dairy Queen, Clevite, and Lucas Oil."

The Championship title has received a great deal of press and recognition in the industry for Leah, the team, and her sponsors. Most recently Leah was featured on ABC Channel 7 in the greater LA area for her participation at the World Finals. Look for a feature on Leah in the upcoming issue of Hot Rod Magaszine.

Leah Pruett- LeDuc Wins the March Meet in Nostalgia Funny Car: Auto Club Raceway - Famoso, Ca - March 5-8, 2010 )

The 52nd edition of the famed March Meet may go down in the record books for having the largest funny car field since 1980, finishing the final rounds on Monday, or providing record breaking runs. But for Leah Pruett-LeDuc, she made her own history by not only winning the event in Funny Car, but also being the first female to do so at the March Meet.

Pruett-LeDuc wheeled the Déjà Vu sponsored 'Plueger and Gyger' Funny Car through five rounds of eliminations before being crowned the winner on Monday afternoon. The final round consisted of new generation driver Pruett-LeDuc defeating NHRA veteran Gary Densham. Pruett-LeDuc ran a 5.811 at 242.65 mph to Densham's 5.986 at 236.34 mph.

"I am beyond happy right now," said Pruett- LeDuc after her final round win, "This weekend is extremely special to me. This is my first nitro win, Ron Capps was my team mate for the weekend, I beat Gary Densham in the final round, I have a new sponsor, Déjà Vu, and I am racing for Steve Plueger. It doesn't get any better than this!"

Pruett- Leduc's road to victory began with a first round win over Jeff Bennett's 'Candies' and Hughes' Camaro running a shaky 5.87 to his 6.51. In the second round, Tim Boychuck's 5.82 was no match for Pruett- Leduc's 5.73, making her the second quickest of the event behind fellow team mate Ron Capps who wheeled the 'L.A. Hooker' to a 5.67 earlier in the meet. It was Paul Romine in the third round that set the new mph record at 253.02 mph against Pruett-LeDuc, but she was quicker than him, and put him on the trailer with a back to back 5.73 to his 5.84 elapse time.

Numerous oil downs and inconsistent rain throughout the weekend delayed the original schedule of the event, and ultimately required rounds four and five of the Funny Cars to be completed on Monday.

Consequently, Pruett-Leduc's fourth round match up, Lee Paul Jennings was unable stay and compete, leaving Pruett-LeDuc with a bye into the final where she defeated Gary Densham.

The rest can be considered history as Leah Pruett- LeDuc's win at the 52nd March Meet was also he first win ever in a Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car. As for the future, it looks mighty bright for Pruett- LeDuc and the Plueger Racing Team.

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Nostalgia Funny Car racer Leah Pruett-LeDuc, will make her debut into the NHRA Nitro Funny Car class at the 2009 Pomona World Finals, November 12-15, driving the John Lindsay and Phil Miller owned Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny Car sponsored by DragStar and TIGERFLOW Systems, Inc.

Schedule


Whats next for 2011?

The Plueger Race team will continue to field two nostalgia funny cars in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series in 2011. Leah Pruett-LeDuc is currently looking to secure sponsorship and funding to continue to race for Steve Plueger next season and defend her championship. Leah is always entertaining opportunities to make the step into the NHRA Full Throttle Series. Stay tuned.

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