CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS
WILD HORSE PASS MOTORSPORTS PARK
FEB. 27, 2022
Chevrolet scores three more wins in strong start to season
• Robert Hight remains unbeaten in Funny Car competition
• New dad Aaron Stanfield earns fifth Pro Stock victory
• Leo Glasbrenner makes it two in a row in COPO Camaro
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 27, 2022) – For the 55th time in his Funny Car career, Robert Hight hoisted a Wally into the air.
For the fifth time in his Pro Stock career, Aaron Stanfield did the same.
Hight, driving the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS, remained unbeaten on the young National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series with a victory in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
“It’s one big team effort; it’s a big win,” said the three-time Funny Car champion, who claimed back-to-back wins to start the season for the first time in his career. “Last year was definitely subpar and we worked really hard over the winter. That hard work is really paying off now. Right now, after these two weekends, we have the best of both worlds — quick and consistent. It’s a dream come true to drive a car like this. It’s been a while.”
The Auto Club Chevy was consistent again in eliminations following 3.8 passes on the way to the No. 2 qualifier spot for the second race in a row, producing runs of 3.864, 3.855, 3.847 and finally 3.837 seconds (330.39 mph) in the final against No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan.
Stanfield, the No. 2 qualifier for the second consecutive race in the Janac Brothers Camaro SS prepared by Elite Motorsports, was runner-up at the season opener the previous week to teammate Erica Enders. In the interim, he welcomed his first child.
“The (Elite Motorsports) guys have been working really hard at the shop trying to get us more power and trying to get these race cars working good. She’s flying. It’s a good day,” said Stanfield, who topped teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. in the JEGS.com Camaro SS in the final with a pass of 6.526 seconds at 210.50 mph.
Hight got past team patriarch John Force, the No. 3 qualifier in the PEAK BlueDEF Platinum Camaro SS, in the semifinals. Force upended reigning Funny Car champion Ron Capps in the quarterfinals – their 112th meeting overall and second in two weeks.
Brittany Force, the No. 6 qualifier in the Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster, faced off against John Force Racing teammate Austin Prock for the second week in a row. This time, Force was victorious in the first-round matchup against Prock, the runner-up at Pomona in the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster. Force fell in the quarterfinals on a holeshot to defending champion Steve Torrence.
Coughlin defeated No. 1 qualifier Kyle Koretsky, driving the Lucas Oil Camaro SS, and Stanfield got past Mason McGaha in the Harlow Sammons of Odessa Camaro SS in the semifinals. Chevrolet has dominated the Pro Stock with 349 wins, including 230 by the Camaro, since the class was introduced in 1970.
Camrie Caruso became the third female in Pro Stock history to turn on a win light, joining Lucinda McFarlin (1992) and Erica Enders (2005). Reigning Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, driving the HendrickCars.com Camaro SS, will look to Gainesville, Florida, in two weeks to become the fifth NHRA driver overall and second in the pro ranks with 100 wins.
Leo Glasbrenner of Murrieta, California, earned his second consecutive Stock Eliminator national event victory and ninth of his career in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro.
“I told myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to pay more attention to my racing program and just focus more, and it’s paying off,” he said. “I hope it continues to pay off all year long.”
Eliminations from the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals will be telecast at 7 p.m. ET March 13.
An interview with Funny Car winner ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier):
YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED IN THE PERFORMANCE LAST YEAR. WHAT’S CHANGED?
“We basically have the same guys we’ve had for the last three or four years and we won a couple of championships in that time. So, last year was definitely subpar and we worked really hard over the winter. That hard work is really paying off now. I think (co-crew chiefs) Jimmy (Prock) and Chris (Cunningham) are maybe even a little surprised with some of the changes they made a how fast this car is and how it’s responding. You have no idea how hard it is to win one race much less two in a row. It’s unheard of and we’re not getting lucky. This is pure performance.”
YOU CAME HERE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO AND LOOKED GOOD TESTING. YOU HAD TO HAVE COMFIDENCE COMING IN HERE?
“This three-week swing has been amazing. When we left here from testing, we said we’re coming back here in a couple of weeks, and we really ran good. We just have to go put one together at Pomona and we’re back here. We put it together there, too.”
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT STARTING TWO FOR TWO.
“This is amazing. The Funny Car class, I feel is the toughest class out here. From top to bottom, it’s’ stacked. And any given weekend, somebody can step up and win. To go and win two in a row in this day and age, that is amazing. If you look back to the string of runs that we’re on, five in a row at Auto Club in the (3.80s) and come here and have seven in a row in the 80s, so that’s pretty impressive what Jimmy (Prock) and Chris (Cunningham) and the whole Auto Club team have come up with over the winter. Even yesterday when the track was 107 degrees, we went up there and ran 84. You don’t surprise Jimmy very often and that run surprised him. It surprised me, too. I’m very fortunate to get to drive this thing right now. It’s what you dream about, and it’s not going to get any easier from here on out. You have big battles, last weekend with (Ron) Capps and this weekend with (Matt) Hagan, and you’re going to see a lot of those battles all year long. I just hope we’re up for it.”
IS JIMMY GOING FOR CONSISTENCY?
“Jimmy and Chris like big numbers. They’ve pushed this thing; we’ve not found the edge yet. This thing is very safe early on, and that’s what we had last year that didn’t work. You’d be going along, and for no reason at all blow the tires off the hit. This thing is anchored, it’s got great traction and honestly I was a little nervous because Hagan ran an 82 last night with similar conditions. Jimmy is not going to say we’re going to go up and lay 84. We’re going to go for it. Jimmy’s not going to be happy until he finds the edge, but the consistency on this side of the edge is pretty amazing. You get over that edge and you’re going to start seeing some tire spin. And from here on out, we’re going to start seeing warmer racetracks and we’re going to have to race a little differently now. You have to give an A-plus for the first two races.”
DOES IT TAKE SOMETHING OFF YOUR SHOULDERS OR MORE INTENSE WITH THIS RUN YOU’RE HAVING?
“You can’t take anybody lightly; you’ve got to stay focused. It’s put this behind us because you cold go to Gainesville and have a bunch of troubles because we haven’t been on a warm racetrack yet. We have to stay focused and not get complacent. We know all the rest of these guys are going to be gunning for us and pushing hard. We just have to keep doing our job. You can’t let up anytime during the year. We want to focus and try to win every race we go to this year, that’s still no guarantee you’re going to win the championship.”
DOES THIS START MAKE YOU THINK WE CAN BE GOOD ALL SEASON LONG?
“Yeah, it does, but you have to stay focused. If you start thinking we’ve got this, it will slap you in the face so fast. We have to continuously work hard and the results will come. I am excited about getting in some different conditions. We haven’t raced in any humidity yet, and you get all of that in Gainesville. Unfortunately, we don’t get to race next weekend. When you’re on a roll like this is when you want to keep racing.”
DID YOU LEARN FROM THE FAILURES TO ADD TO WHAT WAS WORKING TO GET TO WHAT WE’RE SEEING RIGHT NOW?
“We went back to more like we ran in ’19. Jimmy and Chris did some other things and it’s responding.”
YOU GET A BREATHER AND YOU’RE OFF TO GAINESVILLE.
“I’d like to run another week. Gainesville is the kickoff for the East Coast; I can’t wait to get there. We might as well win there.”
An interview with Pro Stock winner AARON STANFIELD, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier):
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE OFFSEASON THAT HAS MADE THIS POSSIBLE?
“The (Elite Motorsports) guys have been working really hard at the shop trying to get us more power and trying to get these race cars working good. She’s flying. It’s a good day.”
IF YOU’VE HAD A BETTER WEEK IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“It would be hard to top. I was able to win this week after getting to the final round last week, but a little disappointing. I’m on Cloud Nine.”
IT APPEARS THE ELITE TEAM HAS MADE GAINS IN THE OFFSEASON.
“They’ve been working really hard and we all have fast hot rods. I had a very fast hot rod today that bailed me out a few times. It was a pretty good day. We’ll have double duty in Gainesville (also driving the Janac Brothers Chevrolet COPO Camaro in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown opener) and see if we can if we can’t get both of them in the same day.”
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, FLAV-R-PAC/MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 6 qualifier; fell quarterfinals): “Tough day for this Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team out here in a Phoenix. We qualified sixth and lined up with Austin Prock first round. We got past him but got beat in the second round. It was driver error. It’s tough; I got beat on a holeshot. We’ll pack up and head to the next one, put this one behind us and move forward.”
AUSTIN PROCK, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONTANA BRAND/ROCKY MOUNTAIN TWIST CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 11 qualifier; fell in first round to Brittany Force): “Not the weekend we wanted but it was a weekend of growth. We learned a lot and had a tough first round match-up with Brittany. We had to go out there with our guns loaded and try to run a 3.65. We left hard and had the best sixty-foot on anyone all weekend, but the tires just came loose. It was a good opportunity for me to learn and I got it to recover and got it down there. I learned a little bit on my end and the crew chiefs learned. We’re going to go to Gainesville and try to go to the finals again.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK BLUEDEF PLATINUM CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in semifinals to Robert Hight): “Not a bad weekend for this PEAK Chevy. Qualified decent you know, right there at No. 3. We went some rounds and if I have to lose, well then, I’d rather it be to Robert and that Auto Club car. They’re really something right now, and Brittany and Austin, they’re right in it too. We’ll keep on building, keep working. Danny Hood, Tim Fabrisi, they really pour themselves into this car. So, I’m looking forward to getting to Gainesville and going after it again.”
TROY COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; runner-up): “That was a big turning point right there We had some electrical gremlins with the EFI stuff that had been haunting us but the guys were relentless in chasing it down and fixing the car. They made the right choices when they had to with some pretty extreme pressure on them. I’m so proud of this group.”
ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “We hurt a motor on the first run. I didn’t get to wash my hands or sit down or anything before we came up there. It definitely wasn’t the tune-up we were hoping for on that engine. Mason did a great job on the Tree and I haven’t been stellar this weekend.”
KYLE KORETSKY, KB RACING, LUCAS OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “I think Pro Stock is the hardest class in NHRA. It comes down to that 1,500 rpm shift point, letting the clutch go the same every time. My first national event here in Phoenix and any time at the track is better than a day at work.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 7 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “It’s been a bit of a slow start, but it’s hard not to have faith in your car and your team coming off the year we had. It’s taking a little time, and we’re a little puzzled as to why.”
CAMRIE CARUSO, CARUSO FAMILY RACING, POWERBUILT TOOLS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “I think I’ll still be learning for a long time to come. There’s so much to these cars. My entire team, I can’t thank them enough for helping me progress.”
MASON MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 11 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “I’m just trying to do my thing. I don’t want to go up there and think about it too much because that can throw you off. You just have to go up there and make consistent runs.”
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