JOLIET, Ill. (May 21, 2023) – John Force and the BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team had a semifinal finish at the Gerber Glass & Collision NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway. Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team also made a semifinal appearance while both Austin Prock with the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster and Robert Hight with the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevy Camaro SS each had quarterfinal exits.

John Force had extra motivation this weekend with Old World Industries (OWI), the parent company of BlueDEF and PEAK, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. To commemorate the milestone, Force’s BlueDEF / PEAK Chevy sported a hood with all the OWI employee names on it. John Force Racing hospitality played host to over 200 of the Chicago-based company’s employees and executives including Founder and Chairman Tom Hurvis and CEO Greg Noethlich.

“Good to have PEAK here, having them help bring this race back with Old World Industries. Tom Hurvis, a guy that has given his life to the business and has been with so many teams over the years. It’s their 50th anniversary this year for all of OWI, PEAK and BlueDEF,” Force said.  “Glad to have had them all out here this weekend and at least they had some fun this weekend and their customers were happy.”

John Force and the BlueDEF Chevy came out swinging in the first round of eliminations throwing down the quickest pass of the session at 3.940 seconds and 320.20 mph in what turned into a solo run after Mike McIntire had to shutoff before taking the tree. His win would put Force against teammate Robert Hight in the quarterfinals.

The matchup between John Force Racing CEO and John Force Racing President would look like a solid side-by-side race until the end of the run. The Cornwell Tools Camaro would haze the tires late for only a 4.159-second pass at 262.44 mph forcing Hight to watch the BlueDEF Chevy pull away giving Force the win at 4.003 and 323.50.

In the semifinals, Force ran into tire smoke almost immediately against eventual event winner Tim Wilkerson. The BlueDEF Chevy would coast to a 9.670-second run at only 76.53 mph while Wilkerson had a 4.012 pass at 319.90 mph.

“Great being back here in Chicago, the fans were great. I’ve won here a couple time before, wish we could have gotten it done again today. We did take this BlueDEF / PEAK Chevy a couple rounds and moved our way up the points,” Force said. “Good to be back at this racetrack and we’ll see where we go from here.”

Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac team moved out of the first round with a 3.750-second pass at 328.70 mph after Spencer Massey redlit by -.042 seconds. The win matched Force up with teammate Austin Prock in the second round.

The quarterfinals wouldn’t be pretty for the John Force Racing teammates but Force would come out with the victory going 4.011-seconds at 241.32 mph despite hazing the tires midtrack while Prock drove into tire smoke early for a 5.477 at 262.79.

Matched with veteran Clay Millican in the semifinals, Force and the Flav-R-Pac team would have cylinders out crossing the finish line at 3.881 seconds and 319.82 mph that wasn’t quite enough for Millican’s 3.778 at 329.58.

“It was a tough start to our weekend qualifying bottom half of the field with only one good qualifying pass out of the three,” Force said. “This Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team turned it around on race day. We went down the track, turned on win lights. It may not have been pretty, but we turned on win lights and went to the semis. We’re happy with that and we’ll look to build on it heading into Epping, N.H.”

Before having a quarterfinal exit against John Force, Robert Hight, the event No. 1 qualifier, and the Cornwell Tools Chevy were second quickest of the session going 3.941 seconds at 327.43 mph to better Dale Creasy Jr.’s. 4.464 at 201.55 after smoking the tires.

“Not the way we thought we’d end this weekend after how well qualifying went. Tricky track today in the heat. Really bummed we couldn’t get Cornwell Tools in the winners circle but what a way to start our 11 races with them. It was something special to set the track record on that first run with all the Cornwell Tools employees in sponsor viewing and then getting the No. 1 spot,” Hight said. “Looking forward to getting to the next race, getting back on track and back in my Chevy Camaro Funny Car. We’ll be AAA in Epping, New Hampshire for the NHRA New England Nationals. Let’s see if we can get the job done for them.”

En route to his second-round exit to teammate Brittany Force, Austin Prock and the Montana Brand team were consistent in round one of eliminations laying down a clean 3.721-second pass at 332.34 mph to beat Tony Schumacher’s 4.298 at 194.49 after smoking the tires.

“We had a great hotrod this weekend and just came up short in the second round. I’m very proud of this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team and how much we’ve accomplished this year so far. Smoking the tires today was the first time we’ve came loose in 11 runs and we’ve run between 3.68-3.74 those runs,” Prock said. “On top of it we had a bunch of sponsor guests and executives in the house this weekend from OWI/Peak, NK seeds and Cornwell Tools It was great meeting all of them and having them out here supporting us in person. Really enjoyed meeting Tom Hurvis and Greg Noethlich from OWI who really had a hand in bringing NHRA back to the Chicago area.”

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season continues June 2-4 with the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.