Chris Holbrook collected his first win of the season in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown following a final round win over reigning series champion Leah Pritchett at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas. Holbrook, in his Varsity Ford Cobra Jet Mustang, drove to a 7.97 to defeat Pritchett’s 8.01 in her Dodge Drag Pak Challenger. Holbrook won for the first time this season as a driver, but the powerful supercharged engines he builds in his Michigan-based shop have powered many of the class’ quickest racers, including newly crowned Factory Stock champ, Drew Skillman, his father, Bill, and Kevin Skinner.
“I knew [Leah] was going to be tough so I had to get up on the wheel and get on the Tree a little bit,” said Holbrook. “I was a little late all day, but we got it done in the final. This is just a great race, if it wasn’t for good customers and friends like the Skinners and the Skillman’s, I wouldn’t be able to do this. The Skinners brought my car down here in their trailer, and the Skillman’s let me fly here in their plane, and here we are. This was a great win.”
Holbrook, a former IHRA series champ in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock category, was the No. 3 qualifier in Dallas with a 7.907 and maintained that consistent pace throughout final eliminations with wins against Ryan Priddy, Doug Hamp, and fellow Pro Stock alumni Mark Pawuk. Holbrook’s semifinal battle against Pawuk’s Dodge was one of the most memorable battles of the event with a final margin of victory of just six-thousandths of a second.
Holbrook has been a supporter of the Factory Stock program since it’s formation and he’s a two-time class winner at the U.S. Nationals. This season, he competed in seven of the eight events but wasn’t able to get past the quarterfinals until arriving in Dallas for the series final. Holbrook entered the Dallas event as the No. 8 ranked driver in the class even though he sat out the most recent round in St. Louis.
Pritchett, the defending event champion, backed up her runner-up finish in Factory Stock with a quarterfinal in her Schumacher Racing Top Fuel dragster. Pritchett was the No. 2 qualifier in the quick field and drove to victories against Chevrolet drivers David Barton, David Janac, and Randy Taylor. Pritchett and Taylor both ran 8.012-seconds, but Pritchett’s quicker light [.054 to .093] gave her a significant advantage.
On Saturday, the championship in the SAM TECH.edu Factory Stock Showdown was decided in favor of incoming points leader Drew Skillman. Technically, Skillman didn’t qualify for the 16-car field after experiencing problems with his Cobra Jet, but the 10-points that he earned for making a qualifying attempt was enough to put him over the top and put the title out of reach for Arthur Kohn. Skillman’s father, Bill, was the second-ranked driver in Factory Stock, but was unable to enter the event due to a prior commitment.