Story BY: SARA SLAUGHTER / JOHN FORCE RACING – BRISTOL, TN – John Force and the PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS team are no strangers to success at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
They’ll look to recreate some of their past accomplishments as they head to Bristol Dragway this Father’s Day weekend for the ninth of 22 events on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule.
John Force has won the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals a total of four times. Starting in 2004, Force won every three years through 2013 (2004, 2007, 2010, 2013). In addition, the 16-time champion has had two runner-up finishes in 2006 to reigning champion Ron Capps and in 2019 after he qualified No. 1 but came up short to longtime rival Bob Tasca III. Force’s only other No. 1 start at Bristol came in 2015.
“I love racing at Bristol Dragway. It’s Thunder Valley, its beautiful. Another Bruton Smith track you know it’s going to be a top-of-the-line facility,” Force said. “It’s tradition being there on Father’s Day weekend, it’s how I’ve celebrated with my girls for years now. This PEAK team, we’ll get out there and look to go some rounds, qualify well. We’re okay, we’re in it and we’ve been fast. I just need to do my job out there on track and I know my son-in-law Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi, they’ll have this Chevy running right.”
After winning earlier this year at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Force extended to 34 the number of seasons he’s won at least on NHRA national event. Heading into the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway currently sitting fourth in points, Force will be trying to win multiple events for the 27th season in his career.
AUSTIN PROCK’S LOOKING TO CAPITALIZE ON PERFORMANCE AT BRISTOL DRAGWAY
Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster team head to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway on Father’s Day weekend confident that a win is within their grasp after making steady progress through the first eight events on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule.
Austin Prock is coming off two strong semifinal performances that included his a career best elapsed time 3.672-second pass at the Virginia NHRA Nationals and a 3.686-second pass that was quickest time of eliminations at the most recent event, the NHRA New England Nationals. Prock currently sits fifth in points in a Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster prepared by crew chiefs Joe Barlam and Rahn Tobler.
“We’re coming off two semi-final appearances, just knocking on the door for our first win of this season. It’s going to be soon that my Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team are hoisting a Wally and it may just be this weekend,” Prock said. “I remember racing with my dad on Father’s Day my whole life, so Bristol Dragway always has a special place in my heart. Nothing better than racing with family.”
Prock is bidding for his second tour victory (he won at Seattle in 2019) and his second trip to the final round this season. In just one other appearance at Bristol Dragway in his 2019 rookie season, Prock made only a first-round appearance. The third generation drag racer, son of Auto Club crew chief Jimmy Prock and grandson of former touring pro Funny Car driver Tom Prock, won’t take for granted the significance of getting a win on Father’s Day weekend.
ROBERT HIGHT’S DUE FOR VICTORY
Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team remain in the hunt for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series points lead as they head to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway this Father’s Day weekend. The three-time championship team is just 41 points away sitting in second.
With back-to-back victories to open the season at the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. and the Arizona Nationals just outside of Phoenix as well as a victory at the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park where he shared the stage with Top Fuel teammate Brittany Force, Hight and the Auto Club team have consistently been in the conversation. Led by crew chiefs Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham the Auto Club Chevy has continually been one of the Funny Cars to beat through these first eight races.
“Not a bad start to the season, eight races in with three wins and second in points,” Hight said. “This Auto Club team is definitely looking for more though. We need to stay consistent, keep working hard and take it one run at a time. The class is really competitive, we were the first to three wins but we aren’t the only ones now and we need to keep it going. That’s the goal heading to Bristol. I haven’t won there in a while and it would be great to get it done on Father’s Day with my daughter, Autumn, there with me.”
Hight is the only John Force Racing driver, other than John Force, to have won the Thunder Valley Nationals. Hight picked up his win in 2011. Bristol Dragway is one of only two tracks in the series on which he never has started a race from the No. 1 qualifying position. Last season, Hight raced his way to the semifinals, his best finish at the facility since his 2011 victory.
BRITTANY FORCE’S LOOKING FOR BUCKET LIST WIN
Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy dragster team enter this Father’s Day weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway having led the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series points standings for four consecutive races and are still 30 points ahead of second place.
Force’s four-race points lead is equal to her longest consecutive streak in her professional career. The Flav-R-Pac team owes their status to an impressive three wins in the first eight of events of the season giving them a 16-5 record on race day. The team’s dominant performance is the best start of Force’s career. The David Grubnic and Mac Savage led team first picked up a win at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then followed-it up with a dominant victory at Houston Raceway Park and went onto solidify their position with their third victory of 2022 at the Virginia NHRA Nationals.
“We head to Bristol next for Father’s Day weekend at one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. This Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team is heading in with the points lead and we hope to leave the same way,” Force said. “Being one of my favorite tracks, we’re looking for a long weekend and our fourth win of the season. A win at Thunder Valley has always been on my bucket list and we plan to make it happen this weekend. I’m glad we are bringing this race back on Father’s Day weekend. It’s how I’ve celebrated my dad on Father’s Day for the last 10 years and I’m glad we return to it this season.”
Force will be looking for the ultimate Father’s Day gift for her dad, a Wally. She had her best result at the Thunder Valley Nationals when the event was run last October where she went to the semifinals. She has one No. 1 start in 2014 at Bristol Dragway, one of the few venues at which she is yet to hold either end of the track record. Currently, she is the elapsed time record holder at 11 of the 19 tracks that host events in the series and the speed record holder at 10.
Racing at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway begins with qualifying Friday night at 8 p.m. and continues with Saturday with sessions at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Eliminations will begin Father’s Day Sunday at noon. Television coverage of qualifying will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1)