READING, Pa. (Sept. 16, 2022) – Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS team land in the No. 1 spot after one qualifying session Friday at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy trail in the No. 2 spot. Austin Prock also landed the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster in the No. 2 spot while Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team will look to improve from No. 15.

Kicking off the NHRA Countdown to the Championship from the No. 1 spot, Robert Hight handled the Auto Club Chevy to a stout 3.867-second pass at 331.20 mph to take over the No. 1 qualifying position and gain three valuable bonus points.

“We have to be aggressive because we are going to need all the points we can get. It was a pretty humbling experience going to the website and seeing our almost 300-point lead turn into 20 after the points reset,” Hight said. “Anything can happen with a small lead. We need to pick up ever point we can. It’s one run at a time, get points every qualifying run and then get lane choice and go rounds on Sunday. I’ve lost a championship by 19=points and it sucks to say that if we only had one more run we could have gotten it done. We know we need to focus 100 percent on our car. But we don’t really have to tell this team that. It’s exciting to be part of this, to come back and see the smiles on their faces. Tomorrow, we have to come out and get another three points and the second run tomorrow, with Funny Car running last, someone may come up and get us so we’ll have to try to pick it up.”

Just two pair ahead of teammate Hight, John Force and the PEAK Chevy went 3.890-seconds at 329.99 mph that would be second quickest of the first session. Force will earn two bonus points for his efforts.

“Good way to start the weekend, start the Countdown. We have a good hot rod, Danny Hood, Tim Fabisi all these PEAK guys, they’ve put this thing together right,” Force said. “Come out again tomorrow and see what we can do. Just keep doing my job, try to keep up with everyone else.”

Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / RMT team nearly had their first provisional No. 1 qualifier with their 3.706-second pass at 332.02 mph but had to settle for No. 2 by .003-seconds.

“That is exactly what this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team needed. We’ve been working really hard and it’s nice to see it pay off. We went testing after Indy and ran pretty similar, even a little better,” said Prock, who earns two bonus points. “I just have to thank Frank Tiegs and all our sponsors and John Force Racing for sticking by us. Looking forward to keeping it going.”

Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac dragster had a rare misstep during their first qualifying run. Force started to lose traction early and had to shut off, coasting to a 6.617 at 91.19 mph.

“Tough start to the weekend here in Reading for our Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team. We tried to push the car too hard, got greedy, trying to run a high 3.60. We know what the problem is, and we know how to fix it for tomorrow which is the positive,” Force said. “We get two more runs tomorrow, 15 typically not where we’re at but we can definitely come back form that but we get two good runs tomorrow and we can reset before race day.”

Competition at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway continues with qualifying on Saturday at 1:15 and 4:45 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to begin Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Television coverage of the event continues on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Eliminations will be aired Sunday at 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on FOX Broadcasting Network.