Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS team picked up their fourth win of the season Sunday at the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Top Fuel teammates, Brittany Force in the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy dragster and Austin Prock in the Montana Brand Rocky Mountain Twist dragster had quarterfinal exits while team namesake John Force in the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro had a first-round exit.
In a final round with championship implications, Hight, in his sixth final round of the season 102nd of his career, would take on long-time rival Bob Tasca III. Hight would have a sout 3.851-second pass at 326.79 mph to take down Tasca’s 4.235 at 268.28 after he had to pedal to the finish line.
This is Hight’s third win at the fall event at The Strip and his sixth overall at the facility. After a perfect weekend, Hight moves within 17 points of the championship lead sitting third behind only Matt Hagan and Tasca.
“It’s really been a strong weekend. I’m not sure if anyone in Funny Car has swept every single point possible in a weekend. That goes out to my team. They gave me a car that was perfect. Our 3.88 was our worst run, then the 3.81, we weren’t trying to do that, it just happened. That’s kind of scary because we had to have been really close to smoking the tires,” Hight said. “This win meant a lot. We dug ourselves a hole in Dallas, and we knew we had to come in here in almost a must-win situation. The rest of these Funny Car guys are running right with us, and we’re not running away with this thing. This Chevrolet Camaro, man, Chevrolet is going to be very happy with that right there and Cornwell Tools, they’re finally here for a win.”
Coming in as the No. 1 qualifiers for the sixth time this season, Hight and the Cornwell Tools team had a victory at the starting line when first-round opponent Jeff Diehl red-lit by .093 seconds. Hight would handle the Cornwell Tools Camaro to a 3.816-second pass at 332.67 mph, the quickest pass in Funny Car since former teammate Courtney Force ran a 3.815 at Topeka, Kansas in 2017.
In the quarterfinals, the Jimmy and Thomas Prock run Cornwell Tools Chevy kept up their performance with a 3.859-second run at 333.99 mph to defeat Alexis DeJoria’s 4.058 at 247.79. The win set Hight up with a semifinal matchup against Blake Alexander. Alexander would run into trouble early coasting to a 7.579 at 89.99 while Hight laid down a 3.868 at 330.55 for the win.
Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac team stayed consistent coming into race day. They would pick up the first-round win with a 3.704-second pass at 331.04 mph bettering Antron Brown’s 3.739 at 315.34. In the quarterfinals, the Flav-R-Pac dragster would slow to a 3.785 at 311.85 with a cylinder out while Steve Torrence would run the second quickest pass of the day at 3.674 and 330.72 for the win.
“This Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team was faced with another tough weekend here in Las Vegas. Coming into race day from the No. 10 spot we knew we needed to step up our game to have a fighting chance,” Force said. “We made big moves, improving our ET with a solid 3.704 run in round one earning us a win light. Unfortunately, our performance fell off in round two as we slowed to a 3.78. That was not our plan, and it was a frustrating round loss. Our team plans to test on Monday to get us in a better position heading into Pomona. We leave seventh in points before going into the final race of the season.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand team didn’t let up in the first round. Prock would take the Montana Brand dragster to the finish line in 3.719 seconds but only 289.51 mph after the engine blew up down track. It would be enough to defeat rookie Kelly Harper’s 3.806 at 317.27. The round win would set Prock up to face Justin Ashley in the quarterfinals. The Montana Brand dragster would drop a cylinder to go only 3.727 at 319.07 coming up short to Ashley’s 3.703 at 331.69.
“We have a good race car, and the team is working hard. It was unfortunate that we blew it up in that first round. Second round, it blew some spark plugs, so we were running on six cylinders, and that’s just not going to get the job done,” said Prock who moves from 10th to eighth in points. “I’m proud of this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team and I know we’ll be itching to get back at it in Pomona, California in a couple of weeks.”
In the No. 5 qualifying spot, John Force and the black and gold PEAK Chevy smoked the tires in their first-round matchup against Blake Alexander. Force would have to pedal the Camaro to a 5.468-second pass at 134.22 mph coming up short to Alexander’s 3.940 at 319.52.
“Well, tough race day. Definitely not what we wanted for this black and gold PEAK Chevy and the 50th anniversary of Old World Industries. We qualified decent but couldn’t get the job done. We continue to celebrate Tom Hurvis, they guy who keeps me in a job, this week at SEMA and AAPEX, looking forward to that,” Force said. “I might be out of this championship fight, but Robert is right in the thick of things and I’m proud of that and that team. Hopefully, we can all put on a good show in Pomona, and end this season on a good note.”
The 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season comes to a close November 10-12 at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip with the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals.