READING, Pa. (Sept. 17, 2023) – After inclement weather-plagued race day Sunday at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, racing was delayed to Monday morning. Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools Chevy Camaro SS team will continue their event defense when they face off with reigning world champion Ron Capps in the semifinals.
John Force in the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS and Brittany Force in the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Chevy dragster had a quarterfinal finish and Austin Prock in the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team had a first-round exit.
Coming in as the No. 2 qualifier, Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools Chevy continued to keep up their performance with the quickest pass of the round at 3.875 seconds and 331.20 mph to defeat Jim Campbell and his 6.603 at 98.93 after driving into tire smoke. In the second round, Hight had a monster matchup against Matt Hagan with huge points implications. Hight and the Cornwell Tools Chevy laid down a 3.852 pass at 327.66 to defeat Hagan’s 3.859 at 335.48 and move around him in the points standings. His win lines the Cornwell Tools team to take on Ron Capps in the semifinals.
“It’s been a good weekend for the Cornwell Tools team. The weather was unfortunate, thought we might have gotten it done. We’ll just be ready to get the job done on Monday,” Hight said. “Looking forward to racing Capps in the semifinals, we’ll just keep running our race. We were trying to run 3.85 in qualifying and it didn’t cooperate, so we’ve stepped it up. There’s been some pretty stout racing so far. Getting passed Hagan in the second round, those are the type of opportunities we have to take advantage of.”
John Force and the PEAK Chevy made their way out of the first round of eliminations thanks to a 4.657-second pass at 277.37 mph after a pedal fest against longtime rival Cruz Pedregon. Pedregon wouldn’t be able to get his hot rod to hook back up for only a 5.432 pass at 131.19. Force wouldn’t be as lucky in the second round. The PEAK Chevy would run a 3.953 at 328.62 and come up short to Ron Capps and his 3.899 at 326.40. Force will end the first race of the Countdown in the No. 9 points position.
“Shorter weekend than we wanted for this PEAK Chevy. Have to thank the fans for packing it in here and the owners the Koretsky Family, great event, sold out days. We dodged some of the rain, NHRA worked hard to try to get it all done,” Force said. “We’ll be ready for next weekend, heading to Charlotte. Still have a shot, just need a couple good days.”
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team started their championship defense with a first-round win over Top Fuel newcomer Jacob Opatrny. Force would have a solid 3.714-second pass at 333.25 mph to defeat Opatrny who put a cylinder out for a 4.328 pass at 203.92. In the second round, Force and the Monster Energy team would come up short with a 3.768 at 317.05 after putting a hole out, giving Leah Pruett and her 3.744 at 324.20 the win. Force, who entered the weekend in the No. 5 points position, now leaves sitting …
“Leaving Maple Grove Raceway in the sixth position after a second-round exit. We qualified No. 2, picked up eight bonus points and are still well within the championship fight,” Force said. “Looking at our season as a whole to now coming into the Countdown, we made some good progress this weekend. It’s still anybody’s game this early on and this team will fight it out until the end. We are ready to get to Charlotte and see what this team can do.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand team had their first race of the Countdown to the Championship cut short in the first round. Prock would handle the Montana Brand machine to a clean 3.716-second pass at 328.91 mph that just wasn’t enough for eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s 3.701 at 330.88.
“Not the day we expected for this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team. Dropped a couple cylinders down track and just didn’t have enough for the first-round win,” Prock said. “We’re keeping our heads up. We know that with just one good weekend we can be right back in it. Luckily we get to turn around in just a couple days and go at it again in Charlotte.”
Racing at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway will be completed Monday at 10 a.m. Racing action will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 9:30 p.m. ET.