"No one closed out 2022 with more momentum than @ProckRocket_TF & the @MontanaBrand #TeamChevy dragster. Jumping from 12th to 3rd in the Countdown, Prock is looking to continue that momentum as we kick off 2023 w/ the #Gatornats at @GvilleDragRaces." (Photo and caption via @JFR_Racing on Twitter).

John Force Racing Racer Austin Prock Talks NHRA Gatornationals

With the Gatornationals starting this weekend, John Force Racing product Austin Prock is ready to go. He talked about the event with Steve Russell, discussing the sport and how he got to this spot now.

Why a driver?

There are many sports people get into at a young age. Not everyone aspires to be a racer, though. Prock is a fourth-generation racer and grew up a fan and, as he says it, it’s all he knows. His great grandfather raced IndyCar in the 30’s and 40’s. His grandfather was a Nitro Funny Car racer and a pioneer of the sport in the 70’s. Finally, His dad and uncle are deep into drag racing as well. His first race was at two weeks old. He always wanted to be a racer.

“It’s all I know.”

His career

It all started on a drag strip in 2017, where he made his first run down. His professional debut was in the 2019 NHRA Winternationals. He has three career wins, six career final rounds, a 3.672 career best elapse time and a 334.15 mph career best speed. Two of his wins came in 2022 when he won races at Reading and Pomona 2.

“I was so nervous my foot was shaking on the pedal.”

Additionally, in 2019 he won the Auto Club Road to the Future Award (NHRA Rookie of the Year).

The Gatornationals

The Gatornationals are this weekend, and he’s ready to compete. One thing the event is known for is the fast times that come out of it. That happens because of multiple reasons: it’s really flat, it’s dry and you can make a lot of horsepower on it. It was the first racetrack to ever have a race car go 300 mph top speed dragster when Kenny Bernstein did it in 1992.

“It’s got a special place in everybody’s heart.”

Racing rivalries

Every sport has its rivalries, whether they’re civil or feisty. It’s pretty levelheaded in racing though. Prock is friends with pretty much all the drivers at the event, but he knows it changes when the helmets go on.

“Once you put the helmet on, it’s game on,”

About Josiah Caswell

Class of 2026 at the University of Florida. Majoring in Journalism on the sports & media track.

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