LAS VEGAS (April 16, 2023) – John Force with the BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS and Brittany Force with the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster reached the final quads at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Robert Hight in the Flav-R-Pac / Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevy Camaro and Austin Prock in the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Chevy dragster had first quad exits.
John Force and the BlueDEF Chevy pulled out a first quad victory with a 3.979-second pass at 327.03 mph and a .086 reaction time defeating Alexis DeJoria’s 3.967 at 326.95 with a .108 reaction time on a hole shot, Paul Lee’s 4.552 at 195.14 and Jason Rupert’s 5.153 at 159.63. Another holeshot win would send Force into the final quad. His 4.069 pass at 321.04 and .089 reaction time was enough to beat DeJoria’s 4.061 at 275.90 and .171 reaction time as well as Jeff Diehl’s 4.291 at 228.31. Hagan would outrun the 16-time champ with a 3.968 at 322.81.
In the finals, Force would lay down a 4.005-second pass at 321.81 mph for what would be a semifinal points finish. The BlueDEF Chevy would beat Chad Green’s 4.222 at 250.74 but would concede to race winner Hagan’s 3.943 at 326.79 and runner-up Tim Wilkerson’s 3.969 at 319.45.
The performance this weekend jumps Force and the BlueDEF Chevy from 13th, after a less than optimal Winternationals performance that had Force crossing the centerline twice, to eighth in the points standings.
“Right now, I love this sport I always have. The support from not just my sponsors, Chevy, PEAK, BlueDEF, Cornwell Tools, Frank Tiegs, Auto Club, and my team, Danny Hood, Tim Fabrisi and my guys, but the other drivers, I know they may not very happy with me right now, but I’ve had drivers come up to me and they always tell me ‘You’ll be okay,’ and that matters to me. That keeps my head in the game. Because this game will beat you up bad and it beat me up pretty bad back in Pomona, so this is an improvement, this is a good sign and I’m looking forward to more.”
Entering as the No. 1 qualifiers, Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team won their first-round quad with a 3.785-second pass at 325.77 mph and a .055-second reaction time. She’d take down Antron Brown’s 3.780 at 321.65.064 and .064 reaction time on a holeshot and Tony Schumacher’s 3.789 at 325.77. In the second round, Force would beat out Leah Pruett’s 3.798 at 322.34, Antron Brown’s 3.769 at 312.71 and Rob Passey who broke at the starting line and didn’t make the run.
In the final quad, Force’s 3.769-second pass at 331.69 mph was good enough for a semifinal finish defeating Josh Hart’s 3.791 at 324.90 but coming up short to event winner Antron Brown’s 3.760 at 319.75 and runner-up Steve Torrence’s 3.774 at 331.04 who would beat Force on a holeshot with a .054 reaction time to her .064.
“Vegas Four-Wide, it’s tricky, it’s tough. We only race the four-wides twice a year. There is a lot going on. There is a lot of prep, a lot of work this team has to do going into the weekend during qualifying then preparing and getting into race day.
Robert Hight and the Flav-R-Pac Camaro were first off the line in their first-round quad but lost traction forcing the three-time world champion to pedal his way to a 4.270-second pass at 249.58 mph falling short to eventual event winner Matt Hagan’s 3.997 at 317.72, Jeff Deihl’s 4.003 at 303.50 and Alex Laughlin’s 4.225 at 265.22.
“Yeah, we’re struggling, you know even qualifying sixth with this Flav-R-Pac Camaro. When we left, it washed out a little. It’s a little greaser out there than we anticipated. I had to drive it right from the get-go,” Hight said. “When it’s hot out like this and you’re having to drive one of these Funny Cars, they aren’t going to stay stuck.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / RMT dragster hazed the tires down track in the first round. Prock would come up short with a 4.172-second pass at 258.96 mph to Leah Pruett’s 3.779 at 319.60 and Rob Passey’s 4.074 at 276.69 but did outrun Justin Ashley’s 4.211 at 313.22.
“Pretty tough weekend, especially coming off a great weekend in Pomona, Calif. Really it just came down to not making a good hit in Q1. We got put behind the ball and struggled getting ahead of it. We will continue to progress and try and redeem ourselves in Charlotte. Looking forward to being at another one of Bruton’s beautiful facilities.”
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season continues with the second and final four-wide event, the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway outside Charlotte April 28-30.