BAYTOWN, Texas (April 12, 2019) — John Force and Brittany Force led the nitro categories Friday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. The father-daughter duo each ended the day in the No. 1 qualifying positions in their respective categories for the first time together.
Brittany Force set both ends of the track record when crew chiefs David Grubnic and Mac Savage tuned the Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster to a 3.661-second pass at 332.18 mph under the lights in the second qualifying session. Force, who was No. 1 entering the session with a 3.738-second pass at 319.29 mph from earlier in the afternoon, had shifted down to the No. 5 spot by the time it was her turn as the last pair down track. With header flames lit side-by-side with Steve Torrence, Force retook the top spot with the fastest and quickest run Houston Raceway Park had ever seen.
“That was an amazing pass for this Advance Auto Parts team. It took us awhile to find our stride and we’ve been turning a corner these last few races. In Vegas we almost had it, we were runner-up and to come out here this weekend and go number one Friday night is awesome,” said Force, who picked up six bonus points for being quickest in both sessions. “After we got the first run done, we knew we were safe, depending on weather conditions tomorrow, we knew that number would hold us. We were able to push like we wanted in the second session and David Grubnic told me before I jumped in, ‘I’m going to surprise you and I’m going to put a hell of a number on the board,’ and he certainly did. I couldn’t hear him at the end of the track but I knew it was good. No clue it was a .66 until I got out of the car.”
John Force powered his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / BlueDEF Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car to the No. 1 spot off the efforts of his 3.888-second pass at 319.29 mph from the first qualifying session. His stout run earned him three valuable bonus points. It’s the first time since the 2018 NHRA Arizona Nationals that Force has earned three bonus points for being quickest in a qualifying session, that’s 26 events and 103 qualifying rounds ago.
While Force didn’t improve in the second session, the PEAK Camaro stayed consistent and ran 3.958-seconds at 316.45 mph.
“You look at Houston and they always seem to have pretty good race tracks. I won my 100th here and the conditions have been good. We’ve had cloud cover all day,” Force said. “Tim Wilkerson (who was in the lane next to Force) joked with me that he clicked it off a little early to give it to me but he was right there too. We’ll see where it goes. We want to come back and see if we can do it again. We slowed down and ran a .95.
“We need to give credit to the Angel family (who own and operate Houston Raceway Park),” continued Force. “Whatever they did down there on the track, we used to have problems and the money they’ve invested in this track and NHRA was a good call.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel dragster team continued their forward momentum Friday night running both qualifying sessions in the .70s. Prock ran a 3.796-second pass at 321.65 mph for his first pass putting him in the No. 8 spot. He made progress in the second qualifying run with a 3.745-second pass at 322.42 mph moving him up one spot to seventh going into Saturday’s qualifying.
“It was a good day for the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team,” Prock said. “We put in the work on Monday in Vegas when we stayed and tested and it’s showing. Tomorrow we’ll keep at it and look to improve and just keep plucking away at it. We’re a brand-new team, so we’re all out here learning together and getting better each day.”
Robert Hight and the AAA Texas Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car team had trouble at the start during the first qualifying session when he lost traction and ran a 6.586-second pass at 102.26 mph. The trouble continued into their second run when they again lost traction and Hight had to pedal it before crossing the finish line at 5.342-seconds at 158.26 mph putting him just outside of the 16-car field.
“Not the day we were looking for but the AAA Texas team will be fine,” Hight said. “I have all the confidence in my crew chiefs, Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham, I’m not worried. We’ll have to deal with the weather tomorrow but it’s looking better.”
Qualifying at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals is set to continue Saturday with sessions at 2:30 and 5 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.