Rookie Austin Prock Claims First NHRA Top Fuel Victory
If Pacific Raceways was not already a favorite track for John Force Racing, the powerhouse teammates of John Force and Austin Prock dominated the last of the three races on the famed NHRA Western Swing for 2019. After his boss and 16-time Funny Car champion John Force extend his lead as the NHRA's winningest driver, it was his rookie teammate's turn to pick up his first career win as part of a historic day for JFR in Kent WA. Prock got his day started by defeating Leah Pritchett, Clay Millican and Mike Salinas to reach his first career final.
Prock posted his first class win with a 3.875 ET at 307.86 mph in his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster to eliminate the defending world champion Steve Torrence. The current point's leader advanced to his 52nd final by eliminating Steve Chrisman, Antron Brown and Shawn Reed. Prock thanked his boss and mentor for the opportunity to drive the JFR-prepared dragster as well as for the last minute motivation gained from watching John Force pocket his 150th Wally in the Funny Car division of NHRA's Nitro classes.
Greg Anderson was having an easy time of it in Pro Stock at the last race of the Western Swing. The four-time national champion knocked off Fernando Cuadra Jr., Erica Enders and Alex Laughlin enroute to his 156th final round appearance in NHRA Pro Stock division. Although Anderson appeared to be a shoe-in to become the first driver in NHRA history to sweep the west twice, Matt Hartford had something to say about the outcome of the 16th or 24 scheduled events. Hartford had quietly eliminated point's leader Bo Butner, number 1 qualifier Jeg Couglin Jr and Deric Kramer to earn his spot in the finals.
In the finals, Greg Anderson was faster with a 6.596 ET at 210.31 mph but lost to Hartford's Total Seal Camaro with a 6.606 ET at 209.33 mph due to his quicker start. Drivers that have clinched their berth in Countdown to the Championship include Bo Butner (Pro Stock); Robert Hight and John Force (Funny Car); and Steve Torrence (Top Fuel). The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 16-18 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Hope to see all the E3 Spark Plugs racing fans in Brainerd MN in two weeks.