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John Force Racing Keeps Momentum Going with Strong Qualifying Effort in Vegas

Continuing the momentum gained from two wins last weekend at Phoenix, John Force Racing got off to a strong start in Friday’s first day of qualifying for the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In Funny Car, Austin Prock captured the provisional No. 2 qualifying position, while team owner John Force grabbed the No. 3 spot. Meanwhile, Brittany Force took the provisional No. 5 qualifying spot in Top Fuel.

“We’re coming back stronger this year,” Brittany Force said of the collective JFR effort. “It was a tough season for us last year. We’re not done qualifying, there’s still more out there, but qualifying 2, 3 and 5 is a pretty good place to be.”

Driving the Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, Prock was second-quickest (4.015 seconds/317.34 mph) after Friday’s first round of qualifying.

In the second round, he briefly grabbed the No. 1 spot (3.947 seconds/321.42 mph) before Bob Tasca III passed him by.

“It’s a great start to the day,” Prock said. “We have to keep pecking away at No. 1. We’re having fun out here.”

Prock has two more chances Saturday to retake that No. 1 spot from Tasca and any other challengers for king of the Funny Car hill.

“We were second-quick both sessions,” Prock said. “Q1 we made a little bit of a mistake and it probably cost us low ET in the second session. We couldn’t push quite as hard as we wanted to but did good enough to run second-quick, so that’s four more points for this Cornwell Tools machine.

“We’re the Funny Car points leader now, so hopefully we can hang onto that throughout the weekend.”

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Prock has been the most successful qualifier in Funny Car this season. In his first NHRA race ever in a Funny Car, he earned No. 1 honors in the season-opening race at Gainesville, Fla., and again last week in Phoenix.

He finished runner-up at Gainesville and then earned his first Funny Car “Wally” winner’s trophy at Phoenix, joining team owner John Force, who won the weather-delayed final round of Pomona (which was rescheduled and relocated to Phoenix).

Speaking of Force, he failed to qualify (4.579 seconds/183.59 mph) in Friday’s first round, leaving him and his PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team needing to roar back with a stronger effort in the day’s second round.

And roar back, Force did, with an effort of 3.962 seconds/313.73 mph, seeing him jump up to the provisional No. 3 qualifying position.

“I’m excited for PEAK, Monster, Cornwell and of course, Chevrolet,” Force said. “We’re on a roll here. But trust me, I had my hands full on that last round.

“I was down sideways in the lights. It got loose but I was able (to hold it), because I’ve learned from making that mistake, get it off that center. I got it off and made it to the light. So, it was a good day for me personally and a good day for the entire team.”

In Top Fuel on Friday, Brittany Force was the No. 8 provisional qualifier in the first round (4.804 seconds/155.04 mph).

But in the second round, the driver of the Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster had a significantly better run of 3.820 seconds at 326.56 mph, moving her up to the No. 5 spot on the qualifying ladder.

“Our first run was unfortunate,” Brittany Force said. “It’s not what we were aiming to do. We didn’t have enough in the car, we slowed it down, and it went out there and drove into smoke again.

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“So we stepped it up in Q2, went straight down there and ran an .82. That was great. So it’s a great spot to be in. We get two more runs in the other two lanes Saturday, so I’m looking forward to that.”

One other item of note: Saturday’s two final Funny Car qualifying sessions will also be part of the season-long Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.

Force and Prock will square off against each other along with Funny Car points leader J.R. Todd and Dan Wilkerson in one quad segment of the Challenge, while the other quad features Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon, Paul Lee and Blake Alexander.

This story was originally published on April 13, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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