BRADENTON, Fla. — Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III recorded the first 340-mph pass by a wheel-driven vehicle in drag racing history on Friday night at the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage.
Tasca’s 3.84-second pass at 341.68 mph at Bradenton Motorsports Park put him No. 2 on the final eight-car Funny Car qualifying order.
Austin Prock, who previously competed in Top Fuel, earned the No. 1 qualifier award in his Funny Car debut.
Clay Millican, Thursday’s provisional No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel, reclaimed his top spot in the final qualifying session. Erica Enders, the reigning and six-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion, claimed the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock.
All three drivers earned $10,000 No. 1 qualifier bonuses courtesy of Lucas Oil.
Unlike traditional drag racing events, the qualifying order does not determine the eliminations pairings at the PRO Superstar Shootout. The eight drivers who qualified in Top Fuel and Funny Car and the 16 qualified drivers in Pro Stock did a random chip draw to set the first-round pairings for Saturday eliminations.
The drivers who did not qualify in Top Fuel and Funny Car will compete in the Red Line Oil Top Fuel vs. Funny Car Shootout, which will take place after round one of Top Fuel and Funny Car. The quickest Top Fuel driver and quickest Funny Car driver will come back for the final round to race for $10,000 and the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award.
The No. 1 qualifiers in the sportsman classes are Jacky Bennett in FTI Performance Top Sportsman, Troy Huntzberry in Super Stock, and Jason Line in Stock Eliminator.
Millican and Doug Kalitta, the two quickest Top Fuel dragster pilots on the property at Bradenton Motorsports Park, squared off in the final pair of the final qualifying session.
Both drivers improved upon their best marks, but it was Millican’s 3.669-second pass at 335.57 mph in his Cleetus McFarland-themed Jacob Construction/Parts Plus dragster that put him back on top of the final qualifying order.
“This has been an absolutely amazing week,” said Millican, who has hosted automotive YouTube personalities like Cleetus McFarland and Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Jeff Lutz in his Rick Ware Racing pit area.
“I say it all the time — the race team is part of my family. And this week, I have had my YouTube family here, and my YouTube family has literally blown up the internet in the last few days.
“I’m thankful that my race team gave me a car that can win. We’ve done some incredible things. And we’re just scratching the surface.”
Kalitta, who threw down a 3.678 at 333.25 in the first session of the day on Friday to take the No. 1 spot from Millican, improved slightly to a 3.672 at 333.49 running alongside Millican to qualify second in his Kalitta Motorsports-fielded Applied Innovation dragster.
Scrappers Racing driver Mike Salinas used his 3.688 at 328.86 from Thursday night to qualify third.
The randomly drawn pairings for Saturday’s first round of eliminations feature No. 3 qualifier Salinas vs. JHG-backed driver Leah Pruett, who qualified No. 8; past world champion and No. 6 qualifier Shawn Langdon vs. Millican; No. 7 qualified Justin Ashley in the SCAG Power Equipment dragster vs. Kalitta, the reigning world champion; and eight-time world champion and No. 5 qualifier Tony Schumacher vs. three-time world champion and No. 4 qualifier Antron Brown.
In his Funny Car debut, Prock piloted the Cornwell Tools “Prock Rocket” ‘24 Camaro SS to the No. 1 spot by improving on his previous qualifying runs with an impressive pass of 3.825 with a big top-end speed of 337.41.
After taking the week to get acclimated to driving a Funny Car, Prock adapted rather quickly after struggling throughout testing, and it showed during the final qualifying round.
“I didn’t really feel pressure up until this last run,” said Prock. “Before we rolled up there, my dad [Jimmy Prock] said we’re going for it. We want that No. 1 spot because it’s the only guarantee for lane choice, and that’s when I felt a little pressure, but when I rolled up into the water box, and that thing started, all that went away, and it was game on.
“That was the best run I made all weekend. It was dead straight, and I chopped the absolute [crap] out of the tree. It was a hell of a package, and I’m just so proud of this Cornwell team, my dad, brother [Thomas Prock] Nate Hildahl, and everyone that’s part of it.”
At the conclusion of qualifying, chips were drawn to set the pairings for race day.
Prock will take on No. 7 qualifier Alexis DeJoria. Bob Tasca III, who qualified right behind Prock with the first run over 340 mph in drag racing history, will race Paul Lee. John Force, who landed in the third qualifying position with a 3.849 at 332.59 mph, will race No. 8 qualifier Cruz Pedregon. No. 6 qualifier Matt Hagan will race No. 4 qualifier J.R. Todd.
Six-time Pro Stock world champion and winningest woman in motorsports Enders took her JHG/SCAG/Melling Camaro to the No. 1 position after a 6.505 at 210.21 mph during the final round of qualifying.
Enders is happy to be in the mix with some of the best race car drivers in the world at the PRO Superstar Shootout.
“To have our qualifying position match the number that’s on our car, now we’ve had to put our heads down, go to work, and prove to them why it’s there,” said Enders. “I had my phone out at the top end, watching the time slips pop up to see if we stayed in the No. 1 spot because I wanted that ten grand. To not know after the field is set who you have the next day, there’s a lot of anticipation there, and the chip draw was definitely exciting.”
After the chip draw was completed, Enders drew No. 13 qualifier and teammate David Cuadra.
Dallas Glenn got bumped to the No. 2 spot and will race No. 12 qualifier Dave Connolly. No. 16 qualifier Camrie Caruso and No. 6 qualifier Aaron Stanfield will race each other. Brothers Cristian Cuadra, No. 3 qualifier, and Fernando Cuadra Jr., No. 8 qualifier, will line up on race day. No. 7 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. and No. 4 qualifier Jerry Tucker will race one another.
No. 5 qualifier Bo Butner and No. 14 qualifier Eric Latino will race each other. No. 15 qualifier Greg Anderson and No. 9 qualifier Matt Hartford will race each other, and rounding out the chip draw pairings are Troy Coughlin Jr., No. 10 qualifier, and Chris McGaha, No. 11 qualifier.