TOPEKA, Kans. (Aug. 12, 2023) – Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team earned their third No.1 qualifying position of the season at the Menards NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park. John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS are No. 5 while Brittany Force in the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy dragster will start from No. 8 and Austin Prock in the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster will start from No. 14.
Hight earned his 80th career No. 1, third of the season and fifth at Heartland Motorsports Park off the efforts of the Cornwell Tools Chevy’s Friday night 3.948-second pass at 321.19 mph. On Saturday, Hight had to shut his Camaro off early after losing traction for only a 6.307 at 108.45. The Cornwell Tools Chevy team turned things around in the last session laying down a 3.993 pass at 314.17 after putting a hole out.
“Eighty No. 1 qualifiers, that’s a big number, it just shows I’ve been doing it a long time. It really shows that I’ve had great teams behind me. You’re not No. 1 qualifier without a really good race car and in NHRA it’s probably more car over here than it is driver, so this is just a tribute to all of the good teams I’ve been on and all of the good people I’ve had,” said Hight, who earned his Funny Car license at Heartland Motorsports Park. “This is big for this Cornwell Tools team because I think we are turning the corner; the combination looks good and it’s starting to respond. My crew chief Jimmy Prock was happy because tonight it was going to run about the same as yesterday before it put a cylinder out. Cornwell Tools, they’ve come on board in a big way and we need to get a win for them.”
After a solid run Friday night at 3.977 seconds at 317.12 mph that earned John Force and the PEAK Chevy the fifth spot, the 16-time Funny Car champion had an issue at the starting line to start day two of qualifying. Force would be unable to take the tree with his hot rod stuck in neutral. The PEAK team made up for it in the final session with a clean 3.979 at 322.34. Force will take on Alexis DeJoria to open eliminations.
“Turned out to be an okay day. Didn’t start off that way but we got it fixed. This PEAK Chevy, sitting No. 5, that’s not a bad place to start, top half of the field,” Force said. “We’ll just have to see how it goes tomorrow. We need to go some rounds. Put on a good show. If this really is the last time we come out here to Heartland Motorsports Park, well then I’d like a proper goodbye in the winners circle.”
Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac dragster team did nothing but improve on Saturday. They started the day having to shut off early with a hole-out to go only 4.131 seconds at 223.95 mph. In the final session, Force would handle the Flav-R-Pac dragster to a 3.820 pass at 295.59 to put the Flav-R-Pac team in the No. 8 spot to race against Shawn Langdon in the first round.
“Our Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team is in the No. 8 spot and we’ll face-off with Shawn Langdon in round one. We’re marquee matchup so it should be a fun driver introduction during pre-race ceremonies tomorrow and exciting first round,” Force said. “We’re looking to turn our luck around. I know I’ve been saying it here for a while but we would really love to do it here at the final national event at Heartland Motorsports Park.”
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand team will start race day from the No. 14 spot to face Doug Kalitta in the first round off the efforts of their Friday night 4.039-second pass at 321.19 mph. The Montana Brand team had a less-than-ideal Saturday. The dragster would lose traction at the hit to coast to a 9.605 pass at 68.94 to start the day and there would be more trouble in the last session for only a 5.852 at 154.56.
“Rough start to the weekend for this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team, but it’s not because of lack of effort,” Prock said. “I know we will get this car turned around for eliminations when it counts. I’m looking forward to that 10 a.m. race day start time.”
The Menards NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park continues with eliminations Sunday at 10 a.m. Television coverage of the event is on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with a second qualifying show Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Eliminations will be air Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.