Photo Credit: Gary Nastase, Auto Imagery

It was a display of sheer Force in Friday’s NHRA qualifying for the Arizona Nationals at Firebird Motorsports Park – as in an outstanding showing by all three John Force Racing drivers.

Austin Prock (3.840 seconds/334.40 mph) captured the provisional No. 1 qualifier spot in Funny Car.

“For sure it was cooking,” Prock said of the Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS.

If Prock can hang on to the No. 1, it would be his second No. 1 qualifying effort in the season’s first three races.

As for the main event, Sunday’s Arizona Nationals eliminations, Prock hopes to follow in the footsteps of the driver he is filling in for this season, three-time Funny Car champion Robert Hight, who won the last two editions of the Arizona Nationals in 2022 and 2023.

“I can see the confidence in the team this weekend,” Prock said. “We have a really good notebook of runs here. They’ve won the last few times they came here and we’re off to another great start, but I think we were all a little bit nervous after Pomona (Prock lost in the first round of eliminations).”

Prock said there is a feeling in the entire Force camp that this could be a very special weekend for the entire team.

“It’s a hell of a start,” Prock said. “All three cars made really outstanding runs and John and Brittany moving into the #2Fast2Tasty final round tomorrow. That’s big for our organization. I was having this talk with one of our track prep guys and I said, ‘Hopefully that’s just a precursor of what’s to come this season from our camp.’”

Team owner John Force kicked off his bid to win a historic NHRA Funny Car record three separate and distinct events in the same race weekend in strong fashion Friday at Firebird Motorsports Park.

In the semifinals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, Force’s PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car (3.901 seconds at 325.37 mph) easily defeated Ron Capps (8.909 seconds at 82.80 mph).

“Capps is a great racer and we got away with it,” Force said. “Maybe this old guy still has some hope.”

Force will face J.R. Todd in Saturday’s #2Fast2Tasty Challenge final round at approximately 4 pm ET. Todd defeated Matt Hagan in their Challenge semifinal matchup.

Then, after Saturday’s first round of qualifying in which Force hopes to take the #2Fast2Tasty win. He will come back a few hours later in the second round of qualifying to resume his matchup with Hagan in the postponed final round of the Winternationals (Pomona, Calif.) as part of Saturday’s final qualifying run of the weekend.

If Force can win both the #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and the rescheduled Winternationals final on Saturday, he will go for the weekend trifecta in the eliminations of the weekend’s main event, the Arizona Nationals, on Sunday.

He is in the No. 4 provisional qualifying spot heading into Saturday’s two qualifying rounds. “I got a little luck on my side,” Force said. “I’m just having fun. Jimmy Prock (Austin Prock’s crew chief) said to me ‘at least we can sleep tonight because you go to bed sick, just worried about failing.’ He struggled at Pomona then he comes out and runs low ET here today with Austin. So I did okay, we all did okay. And yes, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

Then there was Brittany Force, who won her Top Fuel semifinal battle in the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

The pilot of the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster (3.689 seconds/334.90 mph) advanced to Saturday’s finals of the Challenge, defeating Justin Ashley (3.902 seconds/313.58 mph).

Force will meet Tony Schumacher in the #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge final round, tentatively scheduled for 3:25 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon. Schumacher defeated Billy Torrence in the other #2Fast2Tasty Challenge semifinal on Friday.

Equally important, while she’s never won at Firebird, Brittany has three runner-up showings in regular national events there and hopes to break through into the Winner’s Circle in Sunday’s Arizona Nationals.

“We’re coming off strong after Q1, at 3.689, an incredible run,” Brittany Force said. “It was exactly what we were targeting and it went straight down the track.”

The run gave Brittany the No. 2 provisional qualifying spot heading into Saturday’s two additional rounds of qualifying. She’s hoping to replicate what she did two weeks ago at Pomona, when she was the No. 1 qualifier, advancing all the way to the semifinals on race day.

“We’re off to a really great start and I feel like we’re carrying our momentum over from Pomona,” Force said. “It’s shaping up to be a good weekend and we have two more runs tomorrow. We’re hoping for consistency to keep us in the top half of the field before going into race day.”

TV SCHEDULE: In addition to streaming on NHRA.TV, here’s this weekend’s broadcast schedule (all times ET):

  • Friday, April 5 (9:30-11 p.m.), FS1: First round of qualifying (replayed Saturday morning at 3:30-5 a.m. on FS1 and again at 7-8:30 a.m. Saturday on FS2).
  • Saturday, April 6 (10-10:30 p.m.), FS1: Winternationals final round (previously postponed from Pomona two weeks ago due to weather).
  • Sunday, April 7: (10:30 a.m. to Noon), FS1: Highlights from Saturday’s qualifying.
  • Sunday, April 7: Finals (6:30-9:30 p.m.), FS1.


Spread the love