TOPEKA, Kans. (Aug. 13, 2023) – Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster team raced to their first final round of the season Sunday at the Menards NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park. Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS team had a semifinal finish while Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster had a quarterfinal finish and John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS exited in the first round.
Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac team were the first pair down the track after a lengthy weather delay that pushed the start to after 3:30 p.m. Force would lay down an impressive 3.787-second pass at 321.50 mph to better Shawn Langdon’s 3.853 at 314.53. The win set Force up for an exciting quarterfinal round against four-time world champion Steve Torrence. Force would get the holeshot win with a .054-second reaction time and a 3.781-second pass at 321.04 mph. Torrence would have a .078 reaction time and a 3.766 pass at 327.82.
In the semifinals, Force would race Clay Millican. It would be a tight side-by-side match-up with the Flav-R-Pac dragster taking the victory at 3.717 seconds and 329.91 mph to Millican’s 3.762 at 326.00. The victory sent Force to her 36th career final-round appearance against points leader Justin Ashley. It would be the best race of the day with Ashley laying down the quickest pass of the weekend at 3.702 seconds and 323.58 mph
“Leaving Topeka, not with the win but definitely on a high note. This Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team turned things around this weekend, qualified eighth but made it to the finals. It was a close drag race until the win, unfortunately, we had a cylinder out and we got beat but we stay three in points,” Force said. “It was a really strong day not just for the team but me as a driver. That holeshot win was huge in the second round. There’s no better feeling than a driver winning on a holeshot. To get that done for the boys was exciting and we kept pushing. Still had a great light in the final and it was a close race. Our confidence is boosted and we’re ready to go to Brainerd.”
Entering race day as the No. 1 qualifier, Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools team’s 3.967-second pass at 322.19 mph defeated Jack Wyatt’s 4.555 at 199.58. In the second round, Hight would face Paul Lee. The Cornwell Tools Chevy stayed consistent going 3.956 at 318.09 taking down Lee’s 4.244 at 236.26. In the semifinals the Cornwell Tools Camaro wouldn’t have enough with its 3.969 at 320.58 falling short to eventual event winner Bob Tasca III’s 3.933 at 305.63.
“Not a bad weekend for this Cornwell Tools Chevy. We made some improvements; this combination is starting to respond to what Jimmy Prock is doing. Disappointed we could go a couple more rounds, especially with this probably being the last event at Heartland Motorsports Park,” Hight said. “It’s not too late to get back into the top of the points. We did decent here and if we do good in Brainerd with Indy having points and a half, we could be right in the thick of things and that’s going to continue to be our mindset.”
Coming in as the No. 1 4 qualifier, Austin Prock and the Montana Brand dragster picked up the first-round victory over veteran Doug Kalitta. Prock would have to pedal his way to a 4.260-second pass at 291.82 mph to defeat Kalitta’s 4.465 at 242.15. Prock wouldn’t be as lucky in the quarterfinals lining up against three-time world champion Antron Brown.
“This Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team struggled this weekend. We did make some improvement on our hot tune up and we got a round win but we came up short in the second round,” Prock said. “We’re still digesting the run and trying to learn from it, learn from the whole weekend really. Chin up and on to the next one though, luckily we don’t have to wait long.”
John Force and the PEAK Chevy had their day cut short in the first round. Force would line up against Alexis DeJoria and lose traction for only a 4.867-second pass at 159.66 mph. DeJoria would have her quickest run of the weekend with a 4.029 at 306.19.
“Not the way we wanted to say goodbye to this place if it really is the last time we race at Heartland Motorsports Park,” Force said. “There’s a lot of history here, I have a lot of history here. Was hoping we’d get another double-up this weekend. Would have been something special to do it again with Brittany. We’ll just have to pull it together, this PEAK Chevy team, we’ll be ready for the next one. We’ve got work to do but that’s nothing new.”
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Season continues at Brainerd International Raceway with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals August 18-20.