POMONA, Calif. (April 01, 2023) – Funny Car points leader Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California / Cornwell Tools / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet Camaro SS team earned a No. 3 qualifying position Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. Brittany Force landed the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy Chevy dragster in the No. 2 spot with Austin Prock and the Montana brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team sitting 12th. John Force and the BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevy Camaro SS will battle for a win from the No. 16 spot.
Back in the red, white, and blue of Auto Club of SoCal, Robert Hight is chasing his second consecutive victory at In-N-Out Pomona Dragstrip, formerly Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The No. 3 qualifying spot was earned with a 3.892-second pass at 329.99 mph from Friday night. Hight would have to shut off early with tire smoke for both runs on Saturday at 5.780, 121.01 and 4.370, 199.58.
“Not the best qualifying performance but we’re coming off a win in Phoenix where we didn’t qualify well at all. Tomorrow is a new day, had warmer conditions today, so we learned. I don’t usually have to worry much with this Auto Club team, Jimmy Prock, he lives and breathes this car. He may not sleep tonight but we’ll have this thing figured out and hopefully put on a good show and go some rounds,” Hight said. “I’m looking forward to getting the job done with Auto Club, get them in the winner’s circle their first race of the season.”
Hight will race against Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac team shifted into the No. 2 qualifying spot off their 3.712-second 328. 86 mph pass on Friday evening. On Saturday, the Chevy dragster had tire smoke mid-track for only a 4.631 run at 159.12. In the final session Force would have the second quickest run of the session with a clean 3.720 at 332.10 earning her two bonus points. She matches with Ron August Jr. in the first round of eliminations.
“Out here in Pomona at my home track, this Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team made two consistent qualifying runs at 3.71 and 3.72, that puts us in the number two spot going into race day tomorrow,” Force said. “We will pair up against Ron August and are looking for some solid runs. We want to move up in the points. We’re currently sixth in the standings, but we need to move up there and get this car running with the rest of the competition.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / RMT team had two clean passes on Saturday at Pomona Dragstrip. Prock would first handle his dragster to a 3.832-second pass at 316.90 mph before making his best pass of the weekend at 3.832 and 316.90. He ends up in the No. 12 spot to race Leah Pruett in the first round.
“Not quite the qualifying effort we hoped for but we’re not as far off as we look,” Prock said. “We had an unfortunate break; in the second session, we were making a really solid run and just backed it off too much in the third qualifying session. I’m confident in our team for tomorrow. I’m already looking forward to some Sunday butterflies.”
John Force and the BlueDEF PLATINUM had some unwanted excitement all day Saturday at the NHRA Winternationals. In both sessions, Force would cross the centerline hitting the cones and disqualifying his runs. In the right lane both times, Force’s first run would have him tied up with JR Todd, totaling both cars after the BlueDEF Chevy had tire smoke and took a hard left and then a right into the wall, wrapping his parachutes around Todd’s Funny Car. On the second pass, Force would shut off after being pulled to the left, hitting another pair of cones.
“It got squirrely up there, but it’s been doing that since the beginning of the season, and we think we know why. Driving right, left, right left, I can do that, I do that all the time, trying to keep it straight,” said Force after his first disqualified run. “When it hit the bump up there, though, it blew the tires off and it made a left turn into the other lane. I thought I just got his header, JR Todd, but I’m glad, I’m glad he’s okay. Then it hit the wall hard. I have to reevaluate it. I watched the video, maybe I have to pull it back more. I’m okay, but more importantly, JR is okay.”
“I’m not doing anything different. This BlueDEF Chevy moved around a little bit and made a left but I thought it would come back on me, but it didn’t come back,” said Force at the end of qualifying. “For some reason, I’m snake-bit right now. But I made it in the show, tomorrow is a new day, and we’ll see what happens.”
Force ended up in the No. 16 spot and will race against No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon.
The Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals continue with eliminations slated for 11 a.m. on Sunday. Television coverage of the event continues with a qualifying show Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will begin on FS1 Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.