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Brittany Force Sets Bandimere Speedway Track Record

Brittany Force and the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster team tallied their fourth No. 1 qualifier Saturday night at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals when they set the Bandimere Speedway track speed record. Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster team had a runner-up finish in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge en route to a No. 13 qualifying position and in Funny Car, John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS qualified in the No. 2 spot and Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevy Camaro SS qualified No. 4.

Force opened the final day of qualifying ever to be run at Bandimere Speedway with a 4.461-second pass at 180.96 mph after dropping cylinders and having to shut off early against Justin Ashley in the first round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. She would come up short to Ashely’s 3.989 at 307.02 but still pick up one championship bonus point and $1,000.

In the Monster Energy teams’ final qualifying try, Force would handle the David Grubnic and Brandon Hazelton tuned dragster to a staggering 3.724-second pass at a track record 337.33 mph to rocket to the No. 1 qualifying position for the 46th time in Force’s career. Force already held the track elapsed time record set in 2021 at 3.717.

“We struggled all weekend; our best was a 3.90 and every run we’ve been dropping holes right from the step. When they said 3.72 I thought, that can’t be right. I’ll wait until I get out at the top end and actually look at the sheet. To make such an improvement like that, to come up here and run for the final qualifying session and make such a move like that. This team needed it. It definitely feels good,” Force said. “To do this at Bandimere Speedway, for the last time. That’s what makes it so special. I’ve been coming here with my sisters and my mom watching my dad in the stands since we were little kids. It’s a track that I grew up on. It’s sad to see it go away. With that, we want to end it on a good note. We want to end strong so being able to lay down a 337mph for the mph record, it’s huge for us. We really want to leave it tomorrow with four win lights.”

Austin Prock and the Montana Brand dragster opened qualifying with a first-round win in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Prock, facing Leah Pruett in a rematch of the semifinals from Norwalk, Ohio, would have to pedal his way a 4.287-second pass at 294.95 mph to defeat Pruett’s 6.794 at 98.69. In the finals and to wrap qualifying, Prock would have to pedal the Montana Brand dragster again but didn’t have enough with his 4.214 at 241.24. Justin Ashley would take the win with a 3.883 at 313.95. Prock will start race day from the No. 13 spot off his 3.952 pass on Friday.

“Made it to another Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge final round today. We came up short but this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team is learning each run,” said Prock who earned $3,000 and two championship bonus points for the runner-up finish. “I know my team will get it sorted out and give us a chance to go for a Wally tomorrow. We’re ready for battle.”

Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools dragster had a clean pass in their third qualifying attempt with a 4.052-second pass at 307.23 mph despite having cylinders out. To close out qualifying the Cornwell Tools Camaro would run into tire smoke and Hight would have to shut it off for a 7.105 at 96.03. Hight would keep his No. 4 qualifying position off his 3.944 run from Friday.

“I have to give it up to these fans, this crowd is amazing. It’s a real testament to the Bandimere Family and what they’ve built here,” Hight said. “This Cornwell Tools team struggled a little bit in qualifying, but we made it down the track a couple of times and we got some data for tomorrow. I’m not worried, it’s hard to be worried when you have Jimmy Prock. Tomorrow is a new day and I’m excited to get racing.”

John Force and the PEAK Chevy team lost traction during their first run of the day to record only an 8.813-second pass at 79.50 mph. In the final session, the PEAK Chevy would be up in smoke right at the hit to coast to a 12.558 at 77.43. Force would stay No. 2 off his Friday night pass of 3.920.

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“Pretty good qualifying spot for this PEAK Chevy team. We’re No. 2 and we’re ready for tomorrow,” Force said. “Well, I’m ready for race day tomorrow, not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to this place. I’m trying to stay positive, maybe we will be back. This place is special to me. Hopefully, we can leave here on a positive note celebrating with all these amazing fans in the winner’s circle. They really packed themselves in today.”

The Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway continues with eliminations Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Television coverage of qualifying continues on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET. Eliminations coverage will be on FOX Broadcasting Network Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on July 16, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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