READING, Pa. (Sept. 16, 2023) – Brittany Force in the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster team locked into the No. 2 qualifying spot in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS secured the No. 3 spot while John Force in the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS went No. 7 and Austin Prock in the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster went No. 8.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team didn’t miss a beat coming out in the first session of the day to run a clean 3.790-second pass at 330.39 mph. In the final session, Force laid down a 3.712 at 333.33. She locked in the No. 2 qualifying spot with her 3.689 pass from Friday evening. She’ll start her chase for a first win at Maple Grove Raceway with a matchup against first-time opponent Jacob Opatrny in the first round.
“Good two days of qualifying for the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team. We qualified in the number two spot and face Jacob Opatrny first round during Sunday’s eliminations,” Force said. “We really made use of every four of those qualifying runs. We got down the racetrack with solid passes and we were low in two of the four sessions. This car is running well. This team is ready for race day and ready for the rest of the Countdown.”
Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools team stayed consistent from their high performance Friday. The Cornwell Tools Chevy would go 3.909 seconds at 332.02 mph. In the final session, Hight and his Jimmy Prock-tuned Camaro would push a bit too hard and smoke the tires for a 4.597 at 178.71. Hight and the Cornwell Tools team would shift into the No. 3 qualifying position with his 3.879 pass from Friday and will try to repeat as the event winner with a first-round race against Jim Campbell.
“Pretty good weekend so far for this Cornwell Tools team. Jimmy Prock and his son Thomas and Nate Hildahl have gotten a handle on this Chevy Camaro. It’s exciting to get in the seat,” Hight said. “We had three good runs getting down the racetrack, we just need to carry it over to tomorrow. I think we’ll do that. It’s going to be really cool conditions starting so early so things could be interesting. I’m confident, this whole Cornwell Tools team is confident.”
John Force and the PEAK Chevy had tire smoke mid-track for a 4.679-second pass at 174.84 mph in their first attempt of the day. In the final session, Force and the PEAK team had their third solid run of the weekend with a 3.947 pass at 320.20. They weren’t able to improve from their 3.898 pass from Friday night and locked in the No. 7 spot. In the first round of eliminations Force will face Cruz Pedregon for the 121st time in their careers.
We came out and ran well, ran a 3.92 and then we went out there and ran a 3.89. Then we pushed it and it didn’t go. But we got it back, ran a 3.94,” Force said. “Bottom line I stayed in that top half so at least I get that right lane, I like it. Cruz is a great racer but this PEAK Chevrolet we’ve got a lot of customers out here, NK Seeds, Baldwin Filters, PEAK, and everybody so I have to perform, it’s what I’ve got to do and this PEAK Chevrolet, we will.”
Opening day two at Maple Grove Raceway, Austin Prock hazed the tires and shut off the Montana Brand dragster for a pass at only 5.321 seconds at 125.89 mph. Prock turned things around in the last session with a 3.764 pass at 321.19 despite dropping a cylinder. His No. 8 starting position is thanks to the 3.728 pass from Friday night. He’ll line up alongside veteran Tony Schumacher in round one.
“It’s been a decent start to our weekend. This Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster was competitive enough to qualify in the top half but it has so much more potential left in it,” Prock said. “My crew chiefs, Chris Cunningham and Joe Barlam, are really close to making this thing absolutely fly and I hope we see that tomorrow.”
Competition at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway continues with eliminations Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Television coverage of the first of six NHRA Countdown to the Championship events continues with a second qualifying show Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will be covered by FOX Broadcasting Network with shows Sunday at either 4:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. ET, check your local listings.