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John Force Racing Ready to Extend Successful 2024 Start In Charlotte 4-Wide Race

It’s going to be a busy and noteworthy few days for John Force Racing heading into this weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Things kick off Thursday morning at 9 a.m. ET with a major sponsorship announcement. Check and its various social media channels at that time to learn all the exciting news.

On Thursday afternoon, team owner John Force will appear on Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody on SiriusXM Channel 90 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. John always has a rollicking good time with “The Godfather.”

Then comes the weekend action, with two Nitro sessions each scheduled for Friday and Saturday, followed by three rounds of final eliminations on Sunday. Of special note: JFR is going for its fourth consecutive win in Funny Car in the Charlotte 4-Wide.

It’s been an outstanding start to the 2024 season thus far for all three JFR drivers. Austin Prock has one win (Phoenix), runner-upped twice and qualified No. 1 in three of the first four races. John Force earned the 156th national event win of his legendary career (Phoenix). Brittany Force has reached the semifinals twice and has qualified No. 1 once.

Here’s a breakdown of all three JFR drivers heading into this weekend’s action:

Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Austin Prock won last year’s 4-Wide race at Charlotte in his Top Fuel dragster. This year, he’s switched to driving the Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car in which Robert Hight won last spring’s 4-Wide race at Charlotte and set the zMAX Dragway elapsed time track record of 3.824 last fall (Sept. 23, 2023).

Prock owns the second quickest Funny Car time posted since the 2017 season, a 3.820 second qualifying run in the season-opening Amalie Gatornationals. He has been a finalist in three of four races since moving from Top Fuel to Funny Car to race with his dad and his brother Thomas in the newly-rechristened “Prock Rocket” previously driven to three championships by Hight.

With his runner-up finish in the 4-Wide race in Las Vegas nearly two weeks ago, Prock will once again take part in the Funny Car segment of this weekend’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty race-within-a-race, with both rounds to be held Saturday.

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When asked if he can continue his success, Prock said, “I believe so. I don’t see why not. You know, this team is just honed in right now, and our package is working. So we’ve just got to keep making smart decisions. And I’ve got to keep making smart decisions driving this thing and we’ll see where our cards fall. But like I’ve said all year, if everybody does their best over here, we’re going to be hard to beat every weekend.”

After his runner-up finish in the Las Vegas 4-Wide race, Prock and his team are ready to finish what they started there with another win.

“I think everybody will be a little bit better going into the 4-Wide, especially on the starting line, just because they got all their tendencies out the way,” Prock said. “In the first (4-Wide), it always seems like everyone struggles a little bit more.

“But I’ve had personal success there (at Charlotte). And this race car that I’m driving has had a lot of success there. So I’m looking forward to it. Last time in the spring last year, my Top Fuel dragster and this Funny Car (with Hight driving) doubled up with wins together. So maybe we can double up with Brittany this year. That’d be pretty special.”

John is the winningest Funny Car driver in the 4-Wide races at Charlotte with three victories. Only Steve Torrence has more wins (4), and those are in Top Fuel.

Force won the inaugural 4-Wide event in Charlotte in 2010 (beating daughter Ashley to the finish by .021 of a second for his 128th tour victory), and then followed up with back-to-back wins in 2021 and 2022, qualifying No. 1 on both occasions.

He also was runner-up in 2014 and 2018. One of the most proficient 4-Wide racers, Force has won 17 quads in his career, second only to Matt Hagan (18) among Funny Car drivers.

Overall, John has won four times at zMAX Dragway, his lone win in the Carolina Nationals (fall race) coming in 2016. He has won an NHRA tour event in 35 different seasons and, except for a season abandoned after two races in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has finished in the Top 10 36 straight times.

“(Late Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder) Bruton Smith built the 4-Wides at Charlotte and at Vegas and it has created a lot of excitement with the fans,” said Force, driver of the PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. “It is tough on the crew chiefs and the drivers.

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“There is a lot going on there when you talk about each lane having over 10,000 horsepower. That’s 40,000 horsepower, and I think that is more than an entire NASCAR field. But I love it.”

Brittany Force is one of only eight pro drivers to have won 4-Wide races at both Las Vegas and Charlotte. The only other Top Fuel drivers to have accomplished that feat are Steve Torrence and Antron Brown.

When she won at Charlotte on April 24, 2016, Brittany became the first woman to win a 4-Wide race. She is pursuing her third Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series championship in the last eight years in a car that set the current NHRA national elapsed time record of 3.623 seconds (Aug. 31, 2019 at Reading, Pa.) and the current national speed record of 338.94 mph (Nov.11, 2022 at Pomona, Calif.).

Brittany is the track record holder for either elapsed time or speed at 12 of the tracks that currently host Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series events.

Speaking of Mission Foods, Brittany Force will again take part in the Top Fuel segment of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty race-within-a-race, with both rounds to be held Saturday.

“Our team is looking forward to Charlotte, the second 4-Wide of the season,” Brittany Force said. “We have had success in the past at zMAX and would love to get our first win of the season there.”

This story was originally published on April 24, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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