BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 19, 2023) – Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS team picked up their first Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory Saturday while qualifying No. 6 for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Brittany Force and the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac dragster team finished runner-up in the Challenge while qualifying No. 4. John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS team are No. 7 while Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team landed in the No. 8 spot.
In the first round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools team had a strong drag race in their semifinal rematch with Bob Tasca III from Heartland Motorsports Park. With both Hight and Tasca running 3.982 seconds, Hight would get the holeshot win with a .048 reaction time to Tasca’s .062. Hight’s speed would be 316.67 to Tasca’s 322.96.
Facing Matt Hagan in the finals, the Cornwell Tools dragster would be low on power but would take the win with a 3.988-second pass at 315.05 mph bettering Hagan who uncharacteristically only ran a 4.043 at 311.20. Along with the win, Hight will earn three championship bonus points and $10,000. The championship bonus points will be added to his total after the points reset heading into the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs.
“I keep saying this Cornwell Tools Camaro is turning a corner and I really believe it has, we are getting to where we need to be. It’s responding to Jimmy. He’s only having to make little tweaks now. It’s not wholesale changes every week and changing the combination. It’s getting closer. Our early numbers are picking up which is what you need,” Hight said. “I really want to thank Mission Foods for putting this Challenge together. It makes things a little more exciting on Saturdays and it gives us some practice. I like it because in qualifying, you’re really not practicing but in this deal, you’re out there and you better be on your game.”
“I really feel like we got away with one, you don’t go up there and try to run a 3.98 and beat Matt Hagan, you’re going to get beat most of the time,” continued Hight. “I’d say that we got away with one but we’ll take it. You could call this the first win that I’ve had with Cornwell Tools so that’s a big deal. Maybe we can double up tomorrow. I’ve noticed throughout the year, everybody who seems to win the #2fast2tasty Challenge also seems to double up, so that’s our goal. We really need to go out there and get a win tomorrow.”
Hight will start race day from the No. 6 position thanks to his 3.942-second pass from Friday afternoon. He’ll see Bob Bode in the first round of eliminations.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team got away with one in the first round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. Lining up for a semifinal rematch against Clay Millican from the event at Heartland Motorsports Park, Force would be quicker off the starting line but would trail Millican before driving around him for a 3.872-second pass at 324.51 mph after Millican put cylinders out and had an engine explosion to slow to a 3.886 at 285.65.
In the finals and for their final qualifying attempt, Force and the Monster Energy team would smoke the tires, falling short of victory with a 4.468-second pass at 228.46 mph to Antron Brown’s 3.840 at 292.01. Force will earn two championship points for the runner-up finish as well as $3,000.
“This Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team completed day two here at Brainerd International Raceway. We were in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge where we got the win in a rematch against Clay Millican from Topeka and made a finals appearance. Unfortunately, we lost to Antron Brown,” Force said. “Luckily we picked up two important championship bonus points and a nice little check for the team.”
The Monster Energy team finished qualifying in the No. 4 spot off their 3.762-second run from Friday. They will take on Josh Hart in the first round of eliminations.
“We get to start over tomorrow, it’s another race day. We’ll have completely difference weather and track conditions, its going to be cooler so we’re confident we can step it up and make some quick passes starting off against Josh Hart in the first round. Looking forward to a long race day and going some rounds.”
John Force had to shut off early on the third qualifying try after the PEAK Chevy made a move toward the wall. Force still managed to hold on for a 4.068-second pass at 271.52 mph. In the final session, Force would handle the PEAK Camaro to a 4.032 at 319.82 after it hazed the tires down track. Force would stay in the No. 7 spot off his 3.943 pass from Friday afternoon setting him up to race Chad Green in the first round.
“Didn’t run too bad today, had a couple of decent passes, and got down the racetrack. It’s time to start stepping up. This PEAK Chevy, it’s a fast hot rod and we’ve seen it. We just need to get that consistency,” Force said. “Conditions are going to be good tomorrow, nice and cool, so it’s going to be exciting. We’ll see what happens but we’re pushing for it, we want that win.”
Austin Prock had to shut off the Montana Brand dragster off early in the third qualifying session which was only his second try down Brainerd International Raceway after the second session for Top Fuel was canceled. Prock would end up with a 4.703-second pass at just 157.89 mph. In the final qualifying session, the Montana Brand dragster puffed the tires down track for a 4.071 at 231.08. Prock will start race day from the No. 8 spot off his 3.795 pass from Friday to face Mike Salinas in the first round.
“It’s been a tough weekend for this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team. We just can’t seem to catch a break right now,” Prock said. “We’ll get the car back into fighting shape and we’ll be ready to go Sunday morning.”
Competition at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway continues with eliminations slated to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. Television coverage of the event continues with a second qualifying show Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will air Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on FOX Broadcasting Network.