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Prock, Cunningham join JFR; Force announces crew chiefs changes

On January 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm EST

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

On Friday, the National Hot Rod Association reported that Jimmy Prock returned to John Force Racing. However, that is old news, as we reported on Dec. 27, 2016 that Prock went back to John Force Racing in our Jack Beckman story.

John Force will reunite with Prock. The two won the 2013 Funny Car Championship together. Co-crew chief Chris Cunningham also joins Force’s Peak Chevrolet Camaro SS team.

Jimmy Prock and John Force (Photo by the NHRA)

Jimmy Prock and John Force (Photo by the NHRA)

“I’m putting the band back together,” John Force said. “Jimmy Prock is returning home, and Chris Cunningham is coming with him. This is a great opportunity to grow the company as NHRA continues to grow, too. To bring talents like Jimmy and Cunningham will make John Force Racing stronger. And it will make the Peak Chevrolet a NHRA Mello Yello championship contender.

“A good football team builds its strength on many levels: from the head coach to coordinators to players. You need depth at every level, and these moves makes us deeper and stronger. Every one of my crew chiefs and co-crew chiefs can run a successful team, and to have them all under one roof just makes us better as a whole and as individual teams.”

Prock and Cunningham were last the crew chiefs on the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car driven by Beckman.

Prior to joining Don Schumacher Racing, Prock worked with John Force Racing for 14-years. He was Beckman’s crew chief for the last two seasons.

Beckman will be crew chief by Dean Antonelli, who previously worked for John Force Racing. He’ll also be joined by John Medlen, who also previously worked for JFR, and Neal Strausbaugh.

Prock had 39 wins in his 14-years with the team. He had 27 wins with Robert Hight, eight with Gary Densham and four with Force, according to the NHRA.

“I’m very excited,” Prock said. “I worked here for a long-time, and we’re excited to be back working with the JFR brain trust. Plus, with all the of Chevrolet’s support and engineering, this is a whole new adventure. We’re working hard to try to get a championship and win as many races as we can.

“We’re going to test some stuff. Some of what we were doing is a little different than what they are doing, so we’re going to take a little bit of what they had and a little bit of what we were doing and try to blend it all together and see if we can come up with a better car.”

Mike Neff will continue to be Hight’s crew chief. The Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car will also have Jon Schaffer and Jason McCulloch as co-crew chiefs.

Schaffer had been Force’s crew chief for the past two years. McCulloch was on Brittany Force’s Monster Energy team to begin last season, before working with Force’s Peak team in Sept. 2016.

“We’ve got some talent on that car,” Force said. “Jon and McCulloch had four wins last year with me. Each of those three guys can all run a championship-caliber team on their own, and to have them together on Robert’s car is pretty special.”

Dan Hood will continue to lead his sister-in-law’s Courtney Force’s Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. Ronnie Thompson will also work with Hood.

Force was previously with Traxxas and signed a multi-year deal with Advance Auto Parts. Her Traxxas deal was for the past three-years.

Brian Husen will also continue to be the crew chief for Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster driven by Force. Alan Johnson will also be a consultant for Husen and Force.

Force picked up her first three wins in 2016. She also finished sixth in points.

Austin Prock has also joined JFR in their driver development program. Prock is the son of Jimmy Prock and the grandson of Tom Prock, a former Funny Car driver.

Prock won the 2014 STARS national midget championship. The 21-year-old Prock will attend Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School in hopes of joining the team in the future.

Ashley Force-Hood — who has not driven at a national event since she had her two sons years ago — is also a licensed Funny Car driver in-house.

“I’m excited about this young man coming in,” Force said. “I races his grandpa in the early days, and I knew his dad as a small kid. I’ve watched Jimmy’s sons grow up. It just fits for John Force Racing. The opportunity to bring him into drag racing is great. He’s talented, he’s personable, good-looking, lightweight like a jockey and loves auto racing. I know he can drive a race car. It’s in his DNA, in his blood.”

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About Anthony Caruso III (11246 Articles)
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report.

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