BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 11, 2023) – Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster team and Robert Hight with his Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team each made semifinal appearances Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. John Force and the BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevy had a quarterfinal exit and Brittany Force and the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team made a first-round exit.
Austin Prock, the No. 8 qualifier, and the Montana Brand / RMT team picked up their first-round win over Cameron Ferre with a clean 3.777-second run at 327.66 mph sending Ferre’s 3.883 at 294.37 packing. After a nearly four-hour weather delay, Prock earned his way into the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge by defeating Spencer Massey for a spot in the semifinals. Prock and the Montana Brand team had a 3.732-second pass at 328.94 mph bettering Spencer Massey’s 3.871 at 309.77. Prock and the Montana Brand team would have to call it a day in the semifinals after they smoked the tires for a 7.154 pass at 127.98 to Justin Ashley’s clean 3.728 at 330.23.
“Not the finish we wanted but a heck of a rebound from earlier in the weekend. Just got a little too aggressive in the semifinals,” Prock said. “We will continue to progress with this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist hot rod. I’m proud of what we’ve done as a team so far and it’s early in the season. On the bright side, we get a shot back at Justin Ashley in Norwalk for the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.”
Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools Camaro handed Alex Laughlin a first-round loss when they ran 3.962 seconds at 324.26 mph to better Laughlin’s 4.261 at 259.66. In the quarterfinals, Hight would take down rival three-time champion Matt Hagan. Hight would have the quickest run of the event at 3.913 seconds and 324.20 mph to take down Hagan’s 3.952 at 330.23.
Securing a spot in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge with his appearance in the semifinals, Hight would come up short of the final round after the Cornwell Tools Chevy smoked the tires early to go only 7.840-seconds at 87.07 mph which allowed Alexis DeJoria to drive around him with a 3.728 pass at 330.23.
“Obviously not the way we wanted to end the weekend for this Cornwell Tools Chevy. Busy weekend, we had our hands full. We haven’t had a lot of consistency this year and that’s what we’re working on. Was hoping we would have it today,” Hight said. “Once we get that consistency we’ll be back to our usual form. We just have to stay focused. I believe in this team and Jimmy Prock and they believe in me and we’ll get the job done.”
Coming off a runner-up finish in the New England Nationals, John Force and the BlueDEF Chevy picked up a first-round win going 3.999 seconds at 326.95 mph to defeat J.R. Todd and his 4.131 at 258.52. 7.840. Force would have his Thunder Valley Nationals weekend come to an end in the quarterfinals when the BlueDEF Chevy smoked the tires and coasted to a 6.143 at 108.43 against reigning world champion Ron Capps and his 3.946 at 321.81.
“I’m having fun, going a couple of rounds. Obviously don’t love that we didn’t make it further for the Thunder Valley Nationals, but it’s been a busy weekend. It’s been exciting,” Force said. “We’ll be good. We’re doing okay. We’ll head to Norwalk and see if we can get it done in this BlueDEF Chevy.”
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team had a solid effort in the first round of eliminations against Antron Brown. Force would handle the Monster dragster to a 3.749-second pass at 327.51 mph with a .078 reaction time but it wasn’t enough for Brown’s 3.767 at 328.78 and a .056 reaction time, giving him the holeshot victory.
“It was a rough weekend in Bristol for the Thunder Valley Nationals, but we still leave here on a positive note. This Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team qualified number two. We did get beat early but we feel like we learned a lot on this car and tune-up this weekend to set us up for going into Norwalk, Ohio in two weeks,” Force said. “We are leaving tied at third in points, which is a great position to be in and I’m excited to get back to Ohio.”
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season continues with the Summit Motorsports Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio June 23rd to 25th.