CHEVROLET IN NHRA
2023 DODGE POWER BROKERS NHRA U.S. NATIONALS
LUCAS OIL INDIANAPOLIS RACEWAY PARK
TEAM CHEVY RACE REPORT
SEPTEMBER 4, 2023
MATT HARTFORD CAPTURES CHEVROLET’S 376TH PRO STOCK WIN AT THE U.S. NATIONALS
- Matt Hartford raced to the 2023 Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals victory, capturing his second win of the year and seventh of his career in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock car.
- Hartford’s win at Indianapolis is Chevrolet’s 376th Pro Stock victory and 257th in a Camaro.
- Robert Hight (Funny Car) of John Force Racing raced to the U.S. Nationals semifinal after defeating Paul Lee and Tim Wilkerson.
- Hight started the day from the top spot of the qualifying leaderboard, capturing his 81st Funny Car No. 1 Qualifier and fourth of the year.
- Greg Stanfield captured the first Factory X presented by Holley Wally trophy by racing to victory in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro.
- Chevrolet saw success with Hight and John Force of John Force Racing, winning the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout (Hight), No. 1 Funny Car Qualifier (Hight), and the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge (Force).
INDIANAPOLIS (September 4, 2023) – On drag racing’s biggest stage, the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Chevrolet prevailed in Pro Stock with Matt Hartford racing to victory in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock over Fernando Cuadra Jr. With capturing the win light and Wally trophy, Hartford earns the Bowtie brand their 376th Pro Stock victory in NHRA and the 257th in a Camaro body. Additionally, Hartford raced to glory getting his second win this season and seventh of his NHRA career after earning his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and of his career.
“We came so close a few years back and I lost by the narrowest of margins,” said Hartford. “Indy is a childhood dream. It’s everybody back at Total Seal that makes this happen for me. Everybody at CIP1, Rob’s, GETTRX, Rottler, ZMax, The Hose Connection, most importantly, my crew. I couldn’t do this without Eddie (Guarnaccia), and Chris Ingleson, Adam Bastian, my wife Amber. This is surreal. I proved I didn’t know how to do a burnout in the final, but at the end of the day the win light came on. I’m ecstatic.”
“My wife always tells me to smile. I told her if we win Indy, I’ll smile,” said Guarnaccia, Hartford’s Crew Chief. “I’m ecstatic for our team, for our program that Greg Anderson has put together and all their support. Matt (Hartford)’s done such a great job. Thank you so much.”
In Funny Car, Robert Hight, driver of the Cornwell Tools/AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car kicked off the weekend racing to his 81st career No. 1 qualifier and fourth of the season, taking on both Paul Lee and Tim Wilkerson to face reigning champion Ron Capps in the semifinal. Despite their best effort, Hight smoked the tires mid-track to fall to Capps and end his day in the third round of 2023’s U.S. Nationals.
An early end to race day for John Force, driver of the PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, the weekend was not without a win for the 16-time champion, taking home the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge victory over Capps.
Facing struggles in the first round, Brittany Force, driver of the Flav-R-Pack/Monster Energy Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, saw an unexpected early end versus Antron Brown after seeing an explosion at the 660-foot mark. Additionally, Austin Prock, driver of the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, fell to Leah Pruett after leaving first but seeing Pruett pull away.
“This was really disappointing,” said B. Force. “This is Indy, the biggest race of our season and the last race before the points reset and we start over again for the Countdown. This was our best shot to get ahead of the game and we got beat first round. It’s unfortunate. I felt like we were out ahead. I didn’t see Antron (Brown) next to me, and then I just felt everything rock me forward and I had no power. There was no momentum and I was just coasting and I saw Antron get to that stripe first. (…) But this Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team – we’re not done. We still have a shot at this thing and we’re going to chase it down for the last six.”
In FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown, it was Stephen Bell and Jesse Alexandra facing off in the U.S. Nationals finals, both in Chevrolet COPO Camaro machines. Alexandra prevailed over Bell in the all-Chevrolet final to capture the Wally trophy.
Facing off in the Factory X presented by Holley finals for the first time in competition, and at the U.S. Nationals, Greg Stanfield, in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro, defeated Chris Holbrook with his pass of 7.254 ET at 191.73 MPH to Holbrook’s 8.047 ET at 173.09 MPH to claim the first Wally trophy in the category in competition.
“This is extremely big for us. All the effort that went into this for creating this new class,” said Stanfield. “We’re happy and proud to be a part of it, and hope it gets big,” in discussing the first race held in competition of Factory X.
Kicking off NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship, Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. is next up for the Chevrolet drivers and teams as they march toward crowing the 2023 NHRA champion, Sept. 15-17, 2023. Broadcast of Sunday’s eliminations air at 2 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage streaming live throughout the weekend can be found through NHRA.tv, and is available via AppleTV, Android TV, and Roku devices.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Brittany Force, driver of the Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster for John Force Racing:
“This was really disappointing. This is Indy, the biggest race of our season and the last race before the points reset and we start over again for the Countdown. This was our best shot to get ahead of the game and we got beat first round. It’s unfortunate. I felt like we were out ahead. I didn’t see Antron (Brown) next to me, and then I just felt everything rock me forward and I had no power. There was no momentum, and I was just coasting and I saw Antron get to that stripe first. Congratulations to that team. But this Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team – we’re not done. We still have a shot at this thing and we’re going to chase it down for the last six.”
Austin Prock, driver of the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster for John Force Racing:
“Rough way to end the weekend here at the U.S. Nationals. This Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team has been working hard. We’ve had some changes on the personnel side, but we’re pulling it together. If we do what we did last year, sitting where we’re sitting isn’t a bad thing. We just need to keep our heads down and put the work in.”
John Force, driver of the PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car for John Force Racing:
“Well, long weekend, long weekend for everybody. I’m disappointed. It was a great drag race, great match-up with Cruz, love running him. Just wish it had gone my way. We did win the Mission Foods deal, and that was cool, so that’s something. Time to reset, get ready for the Countdown to the Championship and see what we can do.”
Robert Hight, driver of the Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car for John Force Racing:
“Not a bad weekend for this Cornwell Tools Chevy. Definitely not the results we wanted. We wanted that win, wanted to double up, but we’re really coming around. We are coming together at the right time and it’s definitely different than last year when we came in here with a huge lead and then Tuesday morning you woke up and looked at NHRA.com and you saw that you had nothing. It was all gone, down the toilet. So, I’m glad that’s happening to somebody else this year.”
Greg Stanfield, driver of the Chevrolet COPO Camaro Factory X presented by Holley car:
“This is extremely big for us. All the effort that went into this for creating this new class. Big thanks to NHRA for creating it. Big thanks to Jerry Haas and everybody at Jerry Haas race cars. We’re happy and proud to be a part of it, and hope it gets big.”
MATT HARTFORD, DRIVER OF THE TOTAL SEAL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS PRO STOCK CAR for KB Titan Racing – U.S. Nationals Winner’s Press Conference:
IN THE SEMIFINALS, YOU BEAT ERICA (ENDERS), YOUR ARCHRIVAL. ARE YOU HAPPY ABOUT THAT?
“Oh, yes. She’s a tough one to get. Beating (Erica Enders) is like winning Indy.”
TALKING WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF, HE MENTIONED YOU GUYS DIDN’T MAKE A GOOD RUN THIS WEEKEND, UNTIL NOW WHERE YOU’RE GOLDEN…
“I’ve got to correct you. He never said the car was crap. We never made a good run. The car is great. We didn’t set it up correctly or drive correctly. That’s all that came down to. If you watch the finals, I really screwed up the burnout.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MIND AT THAT POINT (ON THE BURNOUT) WHEN YOU MESS UP LIKE THAT AND HAVE TO BACK UP?
“First of all, you back up into the water, get both tires wet, and pull forward. At that point, you just go through your normal routine. It’s done. Eddie says it all the time – that play is over, move on. Why think about it? Frank Hawley said the same thing. That play is over, move on.”
ON BEATING ERICA ENDERS…
“That was huge. I’m telling you, when we went up there, I said if we can beat her, we can win this race. We left on her, and we outran her. That’s hard to do with her. Sometimes you get both, or one or the other. Typically, you don’t get the two. Look, there’s six races coming up. Our focus is to qualify at the top of the sheet in all six and turn on four win lights every time. If we do that, this turns into a white (championship) hat.”
DO YOU HAVE A TEAM THAT’S CAPABLE OF WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“We have the team, we have the car, and let me tell you, KB Titan power is as good as it gets right now. We’re going to have an incredible fresh piece going into the countdown. If I keep (my head) screwed on straight, watch out.”
FIRST U.S. NATIONALS WIN, THE SECOND WIN OF YOUR SEASON, AND FIRST TIME IN YOUR CAREER YOU’RE NOW A MULTI-RACE WINNER. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THAT?
“Look, we came in here Friday night that our goal was to qualify No. 1 Friday night. If we could do that, we felt that that would stick and we would have four really good test runs to try different stuff. What we ran in the final today is what we tested in one of the qualifying runs. The track conditions became basically what that was. Being able to be on the pole and have that test data played a huge role in the final.”
“Coming into race day, facing Mason (McGaha). He went to the finals in Gainesville, he’s killer on the tree. Sooner or later they will find their footing again, and when they do, there is going to be some people who say “oh my god, how did they get beat by him?” They’re a great team, good driver, and he’s hungry to win. We didn’t go up there soft. We went up there knowing we had to make a run. I was a bit tardy, got back, and knew I needed to work on that. We worked on a few things. He slow-played me really well, he waited forever to stage. Basically played the trick on me I play on Erica (Enders).”
ON STAGING WITH CAMRIE CARUSO IN THE SECOND ROUND…
“We got up there with Camrie (Caruso) and she’s basically putting on the second bulb as I’m pre-staging. I actually got it in a little deep, and that’s where are 60-foot was off and we were a little slower. We went .643, and I thought, man that’s not good because we didn’t have lane choice and we’d be the first pair out. I looked at the numbers and saw we did have lane choice and we were second pair out against Erica (Enders) so my whole attitude changed pretty quick.”
WAS THERE A TIME ON THE BURNOUT IN THE FINAL THAT YOU FELT YOU (DAMAGED) THE CLUTCH AND COULDN’T GO DOWN THE TRACK?
“Not at all. I have a lot of faith, and when I knew it didn’t spin the tires and I got the pedal back in, I tried it a second time, I wasn’t concerned at all. What I was concerned about is the fact that Cuadra, Jr. already did his burnout and backed up, and I didn’t want the starter to get out in front of me to shorten my burnout. I wasn’t going to, and I really didn’t want to have an issue with that. It’s Indy, I’m doing my full burnout and I’m backing up. We’re quick about it. It’s not like I’m going to hold anybody up. That was the only thing that went through my head was don’t make it to where they’ve got to shorten my burnout because that would be a detriment.”
WHEN YOU’RE AT THE TOP END, AND SEE THE EMOTION OF THE WIN, TALK ABOUT WHAT INDY MEANS TO YOU NOT JUST AS A DRIVER, BUT AS A FAN AS WELL OF THE SPORT?
“The first year I came here was in the early 80’s, and I sat in the stands and watched the cars around the pits, and it can resonate with everybody, there’s times you reflect upon your own childhood and think ‘how did I get here?’ I’m now the guy people are rooting for or against in the stands. I was the kid stands. I was very impressionable at that young age that I wanted to be in a Pro Stock car. So the emotions to come to Indy are extremely high. Winning Norwalk was awesome, but this is Indy, and regardless as how we look at it as another race you want to win, I’m telling you, Indy is known as you doing something. It hasn’t set in yet, but it will.”
DO YOU FEEL THIS WIN AT INDY WILL GIVE YOU A BOOST OF CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO THE NEXT RACES AND CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE?
“We’ve had the car to beat all season long. If you look all the data and all the numbers, you’ll hear Dallas Glenn has the best car all year. He has not. We have. Dallas (Glenn) has been the best driver all year. That’s why he’s in the position he’s in. If I get my head screwed on straight, and stop making mistakes, Dallas has got a problem and so does everyone else in the class. Yes, we have confidence and yes, this is a boost. You win Round 1 at Indy, it’s a boost. You win the U.S. Nationals? It’s a dream come true.”
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