Robert Hight and Austin Prock Race to Reading Wins
Author: THE BLOCK
Photos: AUTO IMAGERY, INC.
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Austin Prock (near lane) drove his Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster to his second career victory on Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway.
In the nitro ranks at the track just outside of Reading in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, John Force Racing (JFR) claimed a double-up with Austin Prock taking the Top Fuel victory in his Chevrolet dragster and Robert Hight scoring the win in his Camaro SS Funny Car. It was the first double victory for Austin Prock and his father, Jimmy, the crew chief for Hight.
After a difficult season thus far, the younger Prock claimed his first NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series victory of the season and the second of his career. He qualified No. 4 and marched through Sunday eliminations, turning in a 3.755-second pass at 329.67 mph in the final to claim the Wally trophy. Along the way, also reached his career-best speed of 336.15 mph in the first round.
"This is exactly what this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team needed," said Prock, who moved from 12th to sixth in the standings with the victory. "It's awesome and we're right back in the hunt of this thing. We came into the Countdown sitting 12th, and if we wanted to play for the big trophy, we knew we had to win this weekend.
"If you come out and win Reading, you're right back in the hunt. This is unbelievable and it was just one of those days where everything was going our way, the team did their job, the crew chiefs made good decisions and I did my job. I'm so proud of this team. Everybody kept their heads down and still believed in themselves, and that attitude is how you win a Wally. I was really proud to win four rounds and thank you to John Force and Frank Tiegs for giving me the opportunity."
Robert Hight extended his Funny Car points lead after winning at Reading his Camaro SS.
Meanwhile, Hight continued his dream season in Funny Car by scoring his seventh victory of 2022 and the 60th of his illustrious career. He dominated the weekend by taking the No. 1 qualifying position and making four passes in the sub-four-second range on Sunday, including a 3.937-second blast at 328.38 mph in the final round. With the victory, Hight extended his points lead as he seeks his fourth championship
"This is exactly how we scripted it," he said. "The only difference is it's really easy to script something but it's a lot harder to get out here and get the job done. It's amazing what we accomplished this weekend. No. 1 qualifier, we got points every single run in qualifying, and then get the win. There were some big mountains we had to climb to get this win. It's exactly how we scripted it, but it doesn't usually go that way. One down, five to go. I'm so proud of this team. Sixty wins, I can't even believe that. I never thought I'd get one. Very, very fortunate."
Hight's triumph also was the 154th Funny Car win for Chevrolet since 1967, and the 74th for the Camaro body.
Elsewhere in the JFR camp, Brittany Force qualified No. 1 in Top Fuel for the eighth time in 17 races this season and the 40th time in her career. She also re-set her own track speed record in the first round, reaching 337.66 mph before exiting in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, team patriarch John Force was making his 800th race day appearance and turned in a semifinal result at Maple Grove.
Erica Enders (near lane) defeated teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. in an all- Camaro SS Pro Stock final round at Maple Grove.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders qualified No. 2 and drove her Camaro SS from the Elite Motorsports stable to her seventh victory of 2022 and the 40th of her career. She won an all-Camaro SS final against teammate Troy Coughlin Jr., where Enders laid down a lap of 6.582 seconds at 209.72 mph to better Coughlin's 6.601 at 209.56.
With the victory, the four-time champion also extended her points lead.
"I've had a race car that most Pro Stock drivers dream about all year long," Enders said. "That's thanks to my guys back at the shop and we prepare to win races before the rigs ever pull out of Elite Motorsports, so I could not be more proud of them for their hard work and sacrifice. I do have a really fast hot rod."
David Barton put his COPO Camaro in the Factory Stock Showdown winner's circle for the second event in a row.
Additionally, David Barton bested Aaron Stanfield to win an all-COPO Camaro final round in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown category. Barton, who hails from Robesonia, Pennsylvania, defeated Bossier City, Louisiana's Stanfield with a 7.752-second pass at 177.44 mph. Stanfield clocked a 7.824 at 175.96.
"We moved here from Canada 30 years ago and it feels really great to get this win at home," Barton said. "I have been coming here since I was a little kid. It was cool to have all our friends and family here as well as the employees from the shop. They do so much work it was cool for them to see the win at the track. The competition is so fierce in this class. The track was playing games with us all weekend. To get it just right and cut a good light, it means a lot."
The win was Barton's third of the season and his second in a row. He also claimed victory in the prestigious U.S Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on Labor Day weekend and the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in June.
Now, he just needs to qualify for the NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex next month – the eighth and final event of the Factory Stock Showdown season – to claim his second championship in the category highlighting supercharged muscle from the Big Three.
Austin Prock catapulted from 12th to sixth in Top Fuel points by scoring his victory of the season on Sunday.