The family moniker was in effect long before Austin Prock became a drag racer.

Prock’s father, Jimmy, having come within a round of tuning rookie Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan to a championship, moved over to Joe Amato, where his tuning tendency of swinging for the fence earned whatever car he tuned as the “Prock Rocket.”

On occasion, even Robert Hight’s Camaro was called the Prock Rocket. 

Apparently, with his meteoric rise to the front of the Funny Car field during his rookie season racing cloaked in a Camaro body and the engine up front, Prock has now assumed the name once reserved for the car. 

When one has one win, two runner-ups, and three No. 1 qualifiers, Prock is essentially a rocket of a talented driver. He isn’t the only Prock shining these days. In addition to his dad Jimmy, brother Thomas is a key spoke in the spinning wheel. 

“It still really hasn’t hit me; I’m like living a fairy tale right now,” Prock said. “But I think it’s a good thing that it hasn’t hit me. We just need to keep our heads down and keep focused and keep doing the job we’re doing because it’s been working.

“So don’t get too high, don’t get too low, but we’ve definitely got to celebrate the year we’ve had so far.”

Prock began his competitive driving career at the PRO Superstar Shootout, a major test session/race held in Bradenton, FL. The team struggled nearly a day and a half to get the car dialed in. Once the driver, car, and tune-up went one-to-win, driving the rocket of a car has been a blast. 

“I’m finally getting comfortable in the race car enough to where I feel like I can go up there and attack,” Prock said. “That’s definitely a confidence booster for myself, and if we get all our ducks lined up in a row and I can drive like that, this category might be in for a world of hurt. That’s obviously our goal every weekend. We’ve just got to keep picking away at it.


“Yes, I’m still a rookie, and I’m still learning, and I only have ambitions to get better and better every weekend. People may not see it from the outside, but personally, I feel like I’m getting better and better, getting more comfortable, and that’s a good sign. So it’s a long year ahead, and we’re just going to attack it one weekend at a time.”

So, how did Prock get so good at driving a Funny Car?

Prock raced a Top Fuel dragster for four seasons, compiling four wins and eight final-round appearances. He was also voted the NHRA’s Rookie of the Year. A little-known fact is that Prock occasionally drove a Funny Car during Monday test sessions following national events. 

The combination of Robert Hight stepping away from driving to tend to a medical issue and Prock’s Top Fuel sponsorship ending made for a perfect storm for making the Cornwell Tools/AAA Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro his  

Losing Hight, a multi-time champion, was a huge blow to John Force Racing, but the arrival of Prock has lessened the sting. The family dynamic is one of the biggest keys to his success this season.

“You know, work and family are two separate things, but it sure is fun racing with my family; it’s been a blast,” Prock said. “I’ve been oddly comfortable in this race car right from the very beginning.

“I don’t know if it’s just because I’m meant to be in a Funny Car or if it’s because my dad’s giving me a head nod and rolling off after he’s setting the barrel valve. So I’m really, really blessed to race with my dad and brother and this entire team. I’ve known a lot of the guys for a long time, and we’re all kind of like brothers. So it’s pretty cool to be in this pit.”

This opportunity has been a good play for Prock, who was supposed to be a crew member on the team before Hight took a break. He was content to play his role until sponsorship opened up again. 

From the start, Prock entered the Funny Car arena with a willingness to learn all the nuances of driving a Funny Car. 

“Nobody really understands unless you’re sitting behind the wheel,” he said. “These things are just so tough to drive. They’re beasts, and every lap, they’re doing something different. It’s been like that everywhere I’ve gone so far. It’s just been a different challenge.

“But it’s fun. I love the challenge; I love racing with this team.”

Prock, one of the exclusive 19 drivers to win in both fuel divisions, has held the point lead for two races, a first in his career. 

“I do believe we can keep it going; I don’t see why not,” Prock said. “You know, this team is just honed in right now. And our package is working. We’ve just got to keep making smart decisions. And I’ve got to keep making smart decisions driving this thing, and we’ll see our cards fall.

“But like I’ve said all year, if everybody does their best over here, we’re going to be hard to beat every weekend.”