DI 30 UNDER 30 2019: Austin Prock
Growing up in a standout drag racing family, Austin Prock knew all about performing under pressure. But even this seemed a bit daunting for the Top Fuel rookie.
Making his professional debut, Prock found himself racing for John Force with backing from Don Prudhomme. It was his version of jumping right into the fire, but that’s precisely the challenge he wanted.
“Getting this opportunity from legends like that, it just gives me confidence. It’s not pressure,” Prock says. “Those are two of the biggest names in the sport and for them to believe in me and give me this shot, it just gives me a lot of confidence. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m just trying to make them proud.”
Prock has delivered, earning rave reviews from Force, Prudhomme and nearly everyone else in the sport. He picked up his first career Top Fuel win in Seattle, advanced to the playoffs in his rookie year, finished in the top 10, grabbed the NHRA Auto Club Road to the Future award and earned a spot on the 30 Under 30 list – all in a debut season’s work.
Prock has more than lived up to the billing, showing the potential to become a household name in the sport.
“I’ve been surrounded by great people and they’ve given me an opportunity to do my best and I’ve just been having a blast,” Prock says. “I’ve just been having so much fun working with the team, racing for John Force Racing and with my family. It’s crazy how far this team has come this year.”
The driving talent is obvious, but Prock’s youthful enthusiasm and energy has rubbed off on everyone within the organization. A team that didn’t have its full lineup until the Western Swing has clicked regardless of adversity, while Prock has displayed a star personality.
Prock hasn’t been afraid to call out the biggest names in the class, talking trash with Steve Torrence at his very first race. It’s brought added excitement to the sport, and that’s one aspect Prock takes very seriously, especially when it comes to entertaining younger fans.
“I feel like it’s part of my duty to get young fans involved in the sport. I really try to make a good impression on the real young kids and kids my age,” Prock says. “If you’re not having fun, the race car knows it. I have a fun and outgoing personality, and it’s just who I am.”
This story originally appeared in DI #151, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in December of 2019.