DINWIDDIE, Va. (June 23, 2024) – With the well-being of boss and teammate John Force very much on his mind, point leader Austin Prock maintained his razor focus long enough to put the Cornwell Quality Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS in the winners’ circle Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park where he beat Bob Tasca III in the final round of the 14th PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals.

On an all-concrete track cooled by an afternoon rainstorm from a second round high of 144 degrees to 107 for the final, Prock used a .049 of a second reaction time to get away first and then unloaded the quickest and fastest run of the weekend (3.921 seconds and 327.90 miles per hour) to get his second straight tour victory.

It was the 28-year-old phenom’s third win in nine races since taking over the Cornwell ride from JFR President Robert Hight, but it lost a little of its luster in the aftermath of a first round in which Force’s PEAK Camaro suffered a catastrophic engine explosion as it crossed the finish line at 302 miles per hour and, on fire, crashed heavily into the concrete guardwalls on either side of the track.

After being treated at the track, where he was alert and communicating with members of the NHRA’s Safety Safari crew, Force was transported by medical helicopter to a nearby medical facility. He remains in the ICU unit Sunday night for observation.

“(The trophy) is going straight to the hospital to John Force,” Prock said from the winners’ circle. “He’s one tough son-of-a-bitch, I know that. It’s just tough to see somebody go through that, especially when it’s somebody you really care about, but I know he’ll be back. We’re race car drivers and we have to flip the switch. I know John wanted us to be out here, going rounds and I’m glad we did our job.”

The victory, on the same track, in the same car with the same crew that celebrated with Hight the last time the race was contested in 2022, enabled Prock to open up a sizeable points lead with just five races remaining before the points are adjusted for the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.

When qualifying begins Friday in Norwalk, Ohio, for the 17th Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, he’ll lead Force by, a two-time winner this season in his own right, by 131 points.

Brittany Force’s bid for a “twofer” at VMP in the Chevy dragster ended in a narrow second round Sunday loss to Tony Stewart. Winner of Saturday’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, the two-time World Champion beat rookie Jasmine Salinas in Sunday’s first round with her quickest time of the weekend (3.920 seconds) but fell .023 of a second short of holding off Stewart in round two.

However, four consecutive solid runs provided further support for the 16-time tour winner’s belief that crew chiefs David Grubnic and John Collins are on target with their program to get the car that once was the quickest and fastest in the sport back to the form that carried it to NHRA national records of 3.623 seconds and 338.94 mph.

Meanwhile, her dad’s status for the remainder of the season is unknown. The 75-year-old racing icon, an inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Fla., the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala., the California Sports Hall of Fame in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in Darlington, S.C., and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Fla., had won his 157th tour event earlier this month at Epping, N.H.