Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Prock is headed to the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties, the tenth event on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule, looking to build on the progress with his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team.
At the recent Route 66 Nationals, Prock ran a solid 3.769-second pass at 321.19 mph to land the No. 6 qualifying spot. It tied his best qualifying effort that came at the Arizona Nationals. On race day, the first-year driver had another clean pass in the .70s but fell short of a second-round appearance by only seven thousandths of a second to Richie Crampton. Despite the early exit, Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team remain in the top 10 of the NHRA Mello Yello points standings off the efforts of four quarterfinal finishes at the Winternationals, Arizona Nationals, Spring Nationals and Virginia Nationals.
“We had a good run in Chicago, ran a 3.77 in the first round. We couldn’t get it in the end but we’re really starting to get into a rhythm with our Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster,” said Prock. “Mike Green, Ronnie Thompson and my crew guys are putting in mad work and I think it’s showing out there. I’m very proud of how hard we’ve all been working and it’s going to pay off soon.”
At this year’s Heartland Nationals, Prock is looking to become the fifth John Force Racing driver to win at Heartland Motorsports Park and while he has never raced at the facility, his new crew chief Mike Green, who joined the John Force Racing family before the Virginia Nationals, does have some experience winning there in 2010 as a tuner.
“I’m really excited to get to Topeka and see what we can do. I feel like we’re starting to hit our strides and it’s all at the right time,” said Prock. “We have three races back-to-back and we’re going to keep going down the race track to build an arsenal of data that our crew chiefs can use to be consistent. I hope Kansas is our weekend.”
Qualifying for the Menard’s Heartland Nationals begins on Friday with nitro sessions at 4:45 and 8 p.m. Nitro qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 12:30 and 3:45 p.m. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Check out coverage on FS1 Saturday at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday starting with NHRA Sunday Live at noon and concluding with coverage of final eliminations at 5:30 p.m. ET.