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Austin Prock Takes No. 1 Provisional Funny Car Spot in Chicago; John Force is No. 4

Gary Nastase/Auto Imagery photo

Austin Prock continued his superiority in qualifying this season, capturing the Funny Car provisional pole Friday at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals Presented by PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant at Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago.

The John Force Racing driver earned No. 1 qualifying honors in three of the first five races of 2024. As the NHRA moves into the second quarter of the 20-race national event (race No. 6 is this weekend), Prock’s second qualifying run Friday of 3.907 seconds at 332.43 mph was both the quickest and fastest of all 18 Funny Car entries in the field (only 16 will qualify for Sunday’s final eliminations).

Prock’s second run was better than his first run of 3.945 seconds at 326.24 mph.

Prock, who has held the Funny Car points standings lead following the last three races in his Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS, and the rest of the field have two more rounds of qualifying on Saturday.

“It definitely makes you feel good,” Prock said of being No. 1. “We were not happy with our performance in Charlotte (nearly three weeks ago), losing in the first round, just beating ourselves. We did a lot of homework the past three weeks, so it definitely paid off. We made two really nice runs today and we gathered up six more qualifying points to go towards the Pep Boys All-Star Race. So, I’m really proud about that.

“The car is handling really well. I changed a lot of stuff on our time off on the steering components and would have liked to test it before we raced it here, but we ended up getting rained out last Tuesday (in Indianapolis). So, we’re really happy with how everything went today.”

Meanwhile, Prock’s JFR teammate and boss, 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, is the No. 4 provisional qualifier with a run of 3.930 seconds at 326.95 mph. The PEAK-sponsored Force had a run of 3.987 seconds at 322.50 mph in the first qualifying session earlier in the afternoon.

In Top Fuel, Brittany Force – who like her father is also wearing PEAK colors this weekend – struggled in both qualifying sessions, leaving her outside the top 16 qualified drivers with two more qualifying sessions on Saturday to hopefully get her in Sunday’s eliminations field.

In Friday’s first qualifying session, the younger Force lost traction and ended with a run of 5.159 seconds at 135.80 mph.

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In the second session of the day, even though temperatures and the racetrack surface cooled considerably, Brittany’s dragster again lost traction, recording a time of 4.296 seconds at 190.19 mph.

This story was originally published on May 18, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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