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Austin Prock, Montana Brand No. 1 Friday Night At Sonoma

 Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster earned the provisional Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Friday at the DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway. Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team are No. 7 and in Funny Car, John Force with the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS and Robert Hight with the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevy Camaro SS are 10th and 11th respectively.

Austin Prock and the Montana Brand team didn’t open qualifying at Sonoma Raceway the way they wanted dropping a cylinder and losing traction to run only 4.557-seconds at 166.74 mph. Prock would start the session under the lights from the No. 10 spot. With header flames lit the Montana Brand dragster would lay down a solid 3.704 run at 331.36 to take over the top spot. If the run holds through Saturday’s two runs, it will be Prock’s first No. 1 of the season and second of his three-year career.

“This Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team just overcame the conditions. We struggled on the first run. We’ve really been struggling to try to keep this thing on eight cylinders. We did that tonight and it put up a great number. That feels really promising. My crew chiefs Chris Cunningham and Joe Barlam really do a great job and I’m happy to work with my Montana Brand boys. There was a lot of high-fiving going on in the pit when we stayed number one,” Prock said. “This definitely gives us confidence. Drag racing is very much a mental game. The conditions are going to be totally different tomorrow and you’re not going to see conditions like this again this weekend. Really proud of what we did, you can’t take anything bad away from going number one, I hope it sticks. We will just roll in tomorrow and have a little bit more confidence than we did today.”

Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac team had two clean passes during Friday’s qualifying. The defending event champion managed a 3.816-second pass at 315.64 mph to be fifth quickest of the session. The David Grubnic tuned dragster improved on their night run with a 3.771 at 318.54. While the run put them seventh, it was more impressive that they made a clean pass in the right lane, something few nitro cars were able to do after a massive oil down between sessions.

John Force and the PEAK Camaro ended Friday night in the No. 10 spot after overpowering the track on both runs. Force would have tire smoke down track to go 4.648 seconds in the first session. Under the lights, the PEAK Chevy would hit tire smoke early for a 6.890 pass at 90.34.

Like boss John Force, Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools Chevy smoked the tires on both of their runs on Friday. Hight would handle his Camaro to a 4.864-second pass to be 11th quickest. In the night session, the Cornwell Tools Funny Car ran only 6.890 at 90.34 and stayed in the No. 11 spot.

The DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway continues with qualifying Saturday at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Eliminations will begin Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Television coverage of the event begins with two qualifying shows Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will be on FOX Broadcast Network Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on July 29, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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