Industry News | June 26, 2017

Papa John's Hitches a Ride with Dragster Driver Leah Pritchett

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Last year Leah Pritchett lost her dragster when her team owner retired. Through a relentless persistence to remain in the top 10 of points earners, she found a way to continue to compete and caught the eye of Papa John’s.

“When I met Leah I admired her hard work and determination from the get go. She had some burn marks on her forearms from working on the clutch of her Top Fuel dragster,” says Papa John, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John's Pizza. “Back when I started making pizzas, I had oven burns on my arms all the time. We did what we had to do to get by because we were doing something we loved. Leah was devoted to pursuing her dream like I was.”

“And we both share an unrelenting drive to always get better,” adds Papa John.

That passion to pursue her dream resulted in Papa John’s sponsoring Leah and her racing team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR). Leah’s determination and grit has culminated in a new television spot, which will begin airing Monday. In the spot, Leah shares the story of how her pursuit for better on the track parallels Papa John’s own belief in a better pizza. The commercial will run on cable sports and entertainment outlets including ESPN, MLB Network, TBS, and others.

The TV spot is accompanied by a new national pizza box featuring Pritchett and her gold Papa John’s dragster alongside Papa John and his prized 1971 Camaro Z28. His iconic gold Camaro is the same car he bought at 15 years old, and then sold to both keep his dad’s tavern out of bankruptcy and start the very first Papa John's pizzeria. In 2009, he was reunited with his cherished Camaro and fit it for racing.

Since partnering up with Papa John’s, Pritchett hasn’t taken her foot off the gas. She won three races this season, including Phoenix, Pomona, and Houston, and holds the current NHRA Top Fuel world record at 3.658 seconds, which is the quickest run in history. She currently sits in second in the standings.

“It’s been a wild ride this season with Papa John’s on board as my primary sponsor, a sponsor of DSR and as the Official Pizza Partner of NHRA,” says Leah. “It is an honor to be able to represent this sport and Papa John’s on a national scale and to be featured as the first NHRA driver on a national pizza box.”

As part of Papa John’s sponsorship, Papa John and Leah have teamed up to create the Charity Challenge Series throughout the NHRA season, in which Papa John races his gold 1971 Camaro Z28 down the drag strip against Leah in a Dodge Challenger. The series has raised $40,000 so far this season for the Infinite Hero Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes awareness and provides resources to help combat the mental and physical issues that returning military heroes and their families may face. The next Challenge race will be July 8 at the Fallen Patriots at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.

Accompanying the new television spot is a limited time offer of Papa John’s Double XL pizza, which features 10 big slices topped with extra-large Italian sausage and deli style pepperoni, then another layer of traditional Italian sausage piled on sixteen inches of hand-tossed crust with cheese made from mozzarella. Papa’s Double XL pizza is available June 26 through July 23 for only $12. Double the fun and try Papa John’s bigger chicken poppers, which includes ten pieces and a choice of dipping sauce for $6.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.