No one closed out the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season with more momentum than Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster team. Jumping from 12th to third in the six-race Countdown to the Championship, Prock and his crew now headed by Chris Cunningham, are looking to continue that momentum as they kick off the 2023 season at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Prock finished the 2022 season with a pair of victories in the Countdown to the Championship and his first career No. 1 qualifying position. Making his third appearance at the Gatornationals, Prock is hoping to start the 2023 season with the same momentum he had closed out 2022, a double-up victory this weekend would do just that. Prock has the opportunity to snag a Wally Sunday at the Gatornationals and the NHRA Pep Boys All-Star Top Fuel Callout being raced during Saturday qualifying.
“I’m looking forward to the first race of the year. We have a lot going on. We’ve got the Pep-Boys Call Out that we qualified for and there are a lot of good cars in there. It’s a good competition and it’s always fun,” Prock said. “We have a new crew chief team with Chris Cunningham and Joe Barlam and a handful of new guys on the Montana Brand / RMT car. Everybody has been doing a great job and I’m looking forward to seeing how we hash-up against everyone else and to see if we can pick up from where we left off.
Austin is making just his third appearance in the Florida race and while he has yet to advance beyond the first round, Prock has a unique opportunity at the Gatornationals, a race in which he can become the third generation of the Prock family to reach the final round. His dad, Jimmy Prock, crew chief on Robert Hight’s Chevrolet Funny Car, has won the race five times. His grandfather, Tom Prock, was runner-up to Don Prudhomme in the 1975.
“We’ve done some good testing over the past couple weeks. The first test session that we had in Gainesville we ran mid-to-low 60’s just like we did at Pomona,” Prock said. “We changed a bunch of things in the bell housing and clutch discs and it all responded really well. We should be able to go out there and compete for a Wally the first week out.”
The Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the season-opening event in the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, begins with four qualifying sessions Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. with the Pep Boys Call-Out taking place throughout qualifying Saturday. Eliminations on Sunday are slated for 10 a.m. Television coverage of the event begins with a qualifying show Saturday at 11 a.m. ET and a dedicated Pep Boys All-Start Callout show on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Sunday race day action will be at noon ET on FOX Broadcasting Network.
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