In an eleventh hour development, third-generation racer Austin Prock will make his Top Fuel debut at this weekend’s NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, with backing from another newcomer to the sport, Montana Brand and Rocky Mountain Twist, as primary sponsor.
Founded in 2001, Montana Brand is an industrial cutting tool brand manufactured by Rocky Mountain Twist in its Ronan, Montana location. Montana Brand and Rocky Mountain Twist are an industry leader in design, engineering and manufacturing of power drill accessories.
“This all came together rather quickly,” says John Force, CEO and owner of John Force Racing. “Don Prudhomme introduced us to entrepreneur Frank Tiegs who owns and is heavily involved with Montana Brand and Rocky Mountain Twist among other successful companies. Who would have thought after all these years of racing against Prudhomme, all these years of being in the other lane, that we’d be working together on the same team?
“With the same resilience and determination that Tiegs’ companies as well as John Force Racing are founded on, we were able to put a deal together for 2019,” continued Force. “It’s exciting to bring on another quality sponsor to join the John Force Racing family. We look forward to building up this partnership and working closely with the brands through 2019. It’s going to be a fun year.”
This is what I’ve been working towards for years now. I know it took a lot of hard work from everyone at John Force Racing to be able to make this happen. – Austin Prock
Austin, the son of famed crew chief Jimmy Prock and grandson of former standout racer Tom Prock, has been honing his skills behind the wheel of John Force Racing-prepared Funny Cars in recent season and earned his Top Fuel license last week at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix in preparation for a hopeful debut in 2019.
“I’m excited to head out to Pomona for my first national event,” Prock said. “This is what I’ve been working towards for years now. I know it took a lot of hard work from everyone at John Force Racing to be able to make this happen. I’m proud to be able to race for Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist and John Force Racing and I can’t wait to go rounds and ultimately get in the winner’s circle. It’s going to be an exciting year with Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist and I’m excited to be able to represent their brands.
“Obviously it was a good thing we made the trip out to testing, even if we did arrive late and have to put in overtime to be ready,” Prock continued. “Everyone did their part to have us ready for Pomona, Force and Robert (Hight) worked the sponsorship side and I got more laps under my belt. Jon and Ronnie are happy with what learned at testing. It will be a great season; our main goal is to have fun and the results will come. We’re just grateful to be a part of this 2019 Mello Yellow Series.”
“It’s an honor to be involved with John Force Racing. John and I have been friends for many years,” added Prudhomme. “I had an opportunity to help bring in a sponsorship for Austin and I was happy to do it.”
“I’m excited to be involved in drag racing and with such a well-known team,” said Tiegs. “I’m thankful to Don Prudhomme for making the introduction and creating this opportunity and to everyone at John Force Racing for pulling this together so quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing Austin race this year and seeing what we can do with this partnership.”
Don Prudhomme introduced us to entrepreneur Frank Tiegs. Who would have thought after all these years of racing against Prudhomme, all these years of being in the other lane, that we’d be working together on the same team? – John Force
Austin began his racing career at the tender age of 10 in pavement midgets and later dirt-track sprint cars. He concluded his circle track career with 27 wins and 84 top-five finishes in 139 races before licensing in a Super Comp dragster at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School. He later licenses in a Top Alcohol Dragster before doing the same in Funny Car and Top Fuel. Despite his start in other forms of racing, he says his goal was always to follow his father and grandfather into drag racing.