On a day when drag racing paused to pray for the well-being of its most iconic drag racer, Austin Prock delivered the trophy for a man who has scored more than any other - John Force.

The 17-time drag racing world champion crashed in the first round of eliminations. While he exited the car under his own power, he was transported to a nearby medical center for further evaluation in the ICU.

In the end, Prock delivered his third 2024 win for the man who declared he would be his successor one day. 

Joining Prock in the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals winner's circle were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

One could tell by watching an emotional Prock just after Force's first round incident what was on his mind. 

“This win is definitely dedicated to John Force,” Prock said. “This is one for the books and there were a lot of emotions today and we had to battle a bunch of adversity. This trophy is definitely going back to him. I wanted to get it done for him, and this is really special. I'm super proud of this team to get it done with everything that went on and keeping my head together.
"We wanted to get it done for him, but I almost felt like I was feeling the pressure early on in the day. I drove terrible in the second and third round. This team's busting their tail out in this heat, and I don't want to be the weak link and I wanted to get it done for John.”

Prock was first off the line in the Funny Car final round in his first meeting this season against No. 1 qualifier Bob Tasca III. He kept it matted through the traps with a 3.921 elapsed time at 327.90 miles per hour as Tasca smoked the tires, lifted, and coasted to a 7.145. It was his third win in six final rounds.

Prock reached the final round, stopping Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan. 

In a battle of past NHRA champions and current teammates, Kalitta stopped Shawn Langdon, who went up in smoke early in the match. The victory was his third of the season and No. 55 of his storied career. Kalitta took his victory lap in 3.752 seconds at 333.41 miles per hour.





Kalitta's road to the final round included wins over Lex Joon, Steve Torrence, and Antron Brown. 

"It was good; Brian (Langdon Crew Chief Brian Husen) is obviously doing a great job with Shawn on the Kalitta Air Careers car," Kalitta said. "I was saying before the final round that it's so nice that we've finally given Shawn a car to run and be competitive with. He's one of the best drivers out here, and I'm just super proud of Connie (Team Owner Connie Kalitta), Chad (General Manager Chad Head) and everybody that's helped us get where we are. 

"We've been able to step up, not only Shawn's program but also with what I have going on and also with J.R.'s team. I'm pretty sure Connie's happy with how it went today. I'm sure he's proud of what we accomplished. Shawn and his guys are always tough. It's kind of like the rivalry at the shop because both cars use the same area so it's a little bit of bragging rights there."

Kalitta leaves Virginia in first place in the Top Fuel point standings, 67 points ahead of second-place Langdon.

Stanfield picked up his first Pro Stock win of 2024 by stopping Dallas Glenn in the final round. He avenged a final round loss in Chicago, where he lost to Glenn. 

“It was definitely a long, hot race day for sure,” Stanfield said. “Dallas has got me a couple of times here the past couple of races, and it was good to get them back right there. I was blessed with the opportunity to represent JHG this year, and it's good to finally be able to pull off that wind representing their brand.
“It's just a special day. I have my little girl [Oakley] with me here today, and for her to see me win, now she can understand why dad's gone so much, so it's just a special, special day for me.”

The third-generation Stanfield drag racer was first off the starting line with a .007 reaction, and Glenn caught him. However, he regained the lead as he outran point leader Dallas Glenn, 6.614, 207.15 to 6.617, 205.88. 



Stanfield's road to the final round included victories over Val Smeeland, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Greg Anderson. 

Glenn, who remained in the points lead, knocked off Mason McGaha, Deric Kramer and Bo Butner to reach the finals.

Herrera's run of success continued as he extended his winning streak dating back to June 2023 by stopping teammate Richard Gadson in the Pro Stock final round. It marked his tenth straight national event victory, and in the quarter-finals eclipsed Bob Glidden's consecutive round win mark. His streak stands at 39 straight. 

“It’s kind of hard to process all of it,” Herrera said. “The amount of accomplishments that have been achieved in such a short time, I tried to sit back and just think about it, and it's very hard, because there are so many of them. I have to thank Andrew [Hines, crew chief] and basically picking me out of a haystack to ride for them. I’ve got to give it all up to Andrew and all the guys at the shop. None of this is possible without them. 




“It's very surreal. Getting the 10 consecutive wins, I think that's the biggest thing that really hasn't set in. Last year, we were feeling like we were doing very good and making everyone else have to step up, so this year, if we go out there and do like we did last year, I think this year is really going to hit us in the face and make us realize what we're doing right now.”

Sunday was the first time the Vance & Hines teammates had faced one another in eliminations, and even though they left the starting line with identical reaction times, Herrera outran Gadson, 6.755 to 6.786.  

Herrera was in a league of his own all day by stopping Chris Bostick in round one, then took a bye to advance to the semis, where he beat John Hall. 

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns to action June 27-30 with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.