Prock sets Norwalk track record en route to Friday No. 1 at NHRA Summit Nationals

Funny Car points leader Austin Prock set the track record on Friday at Summit Motorsports Park, powering to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position for John Force Racing at the 18th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 10th of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Prock made the quickest run in both sessions on Friday, going 3.863s at 327.51mph under the lights in his AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS, which also puts him in line for a remarkable seventh No. 1 qualifier in 10 races.


Prock is the only John Force Racing driver competing this weekend in Norwalk, as John Force remains hospitalized following his crash on Sunday during the first round of eliminations at Virginia Motorsports Park. His daughter, Brittany, is also not racing this weekend in Top Fuel, remaining at the hospital with her father and family.

“That was a heck of a lick right there tonight and two great runs for us today,” Prock said. “I’m thinking of Brittany and John, and the whole Force family. I miss all of them out here – it’s just not the same. But the race car is running [well] and that always helps a little bit.

“It’s just how hard this team works. My dad (Jimmy), Thomas and Nate have been doing a really good job analyzing the racetrack and making the right decisions. How this car is running, it’s really shortening my learning curve because I’ve had so many attempts up there. We’ve made a lot of runs already this year. I’m really proud to be behind the wheel. We had a great day today, got to get our minds off the world for a little bit and just go to work and try to make John Force Racing proud.”

J.R. Todd jumped up to the second spot under the lights in Norwalk, going 3.865s at 332.02mph, and Bob Tasca III is currently third with a run of 3.894s at 323.74mph.

Reigning Top Fuel world champ Doug Kalitta made the most of his run under the lights in Norwalk, vaulting to the top spot with an impressive run of 3.692s at 332.92mph in his Applied Innovation/Toyota dragster. It was the only run in the 3.60s in the category, as Kalitta and his team, led by crew chief Alan Johnson, had an aggressive approach after struggling during the first run. It certainly worked, as the Top Fuel points leader now has a chance to earn his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season. After winning two of the last three races, Kalitta also continued his strong momentum and put on a show at the home track for Kalitta Motorsports.

“That 3.69s was a solid run. The conditions were great, the track – they have this place in very good condition — and once again the hospitality the Baders have for the fans is outstanding,” Kalitta said. “It just ended up being a really good night for us. The Kalitta Motorsports effort was good tonight, and hopefully our main man John Force is proud of us. Best wishes for him.

“For Alan and the guys tuning, they went up there to throw down, and it stuck. It was really an incredible run for us.”

Antron Brown went to second after his run of 3.722s at 330.72mph and Tripp Tatum is third on the strength of his 3.739s at 324.36mph.

In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson was the only driver to dip into the 6.50s, making a strong run right off the trailer and taking the No. 1 spot with a pass of 6.592s at 207.69mph in his Summit Racing Equipment/ Chevrolet Camaro. Sporting a special Summit Racing Equipment wrap for this weekend’s race in Norwalk, Anderson delivered a strong run that could give the five-time world champion his third No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 127th in his career. This event has always meant a great deal for the winningest driver in Pro Stock and Anderson would love nothing more than to pick up his fourth career victory at “America’s Racetrack.”

“[The first session] went great. It was perfect, actually,” Anderson said. “In Q2, I should have just stayed at the trailer. We had a $5 part fail — a relay that fires the ignition coils. I had no spark, the car started up and it killed the ignition. It shut right off after two seconds of running and I was dead in the water.

“No matter what, I have to call today a success. I ran great the first run, but I feel like I could have run even better on the second run. I think it’s there, it’s ready to run well, and the car looks and runs great. It just feels like home racing here at Summit Motorsports Park.”

Erica Enders, the defending world champion, put together a strong effort in the second session and currently sits No. 2 with a 6.601s at 207.15mph. Deric Kramer’s 6.605s at 208.17mph puts him third.

Qualifying continues to go well for six-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith, going a track-record 6.748s at 201.31mph on his Denso Auto Parts/Matt Smith Racing Buell. It puts Smith in line for his third No. 1 qualifier in the past four races as the bike continues to impress in qualifying. He ended Gaige Herrera’s string of No. 1 qualifiers in Chicago and has controlled that area recently, but Smith is focused on getting the job done on Sunday. Friday’s run gives him a good start on the weekend, but Herrera has been unbeatable for the past 10 races, something Smith hopes to change this weekend.

“Qualifying doesn’t mean anything if you can’t back it up on Sunday, and that’s what I’ve learned so far this year,” Smith said. “We’ve had a good bike in qualifying a couple races and we haven’t closed the deal. But we’re right where we should be here, and all in all, I’m happy with our Denso/Outlaw Beer bike. We’ve got a great team right now – Angie (Smith) is second, Jianna (Evaristo) is fourth. We have three bikes in the top four right now, [and] we just have to keep digging.”

A. Smith is currently second with a 6.798s at 200.26mph, while Herrera is right behind after going 6.799s at 198.88mph.

Qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals continues at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Summit Motorsports Park.

Story originally appeared on Racer