‘I’ll Do It In A Minute’ Said NHRA Funny Car Racer Austin Prock On Running The Indy 500

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

BRISTOL, Tenn. – NHRA legend John Force dropped a bombshell at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dragway that he is considering the possibility of putting Austin Prock in an IndyCar to run the Indianapolis 500.

The idea came to him, he said, when he was hanging out with NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick two weeks ago as NASCAR Champion Kyle Larson attempted to run the 1,100 miles that make up the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.

Prock, who is currently filling in for Robert Hight in a John Force Racing Funny Car, already has one win this season at Phoenix and is a four-to-one favorite to win at the SuperGrip Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend. Despite his prowess at racing in a straight line, he’s well-versed in going fast and turning left.

“He was driving roundy-round cars. He was looking at NASCAR or IndyCar,” said Force. “So, I am standing there with Hendrick and he is out there with his driver, of course, my son-in-law, (Graham) Rahal (NTT IndyCar Series driver) is there. And I told Prock, in the bar with a little wine, what if we just whipped an IndyCar on them? And he goes, ‘You gonna drive?’ And I said, ‘Do you want to see me kill myself?’

“I said, ‘what about you?’ And he said, ‘I’ll do it in a minute.’”

Sitting next to Force in the Bristol Dragway media center, Prock quickly fired back, “Yes, I’d hop into it in a heartbeat.”

Force said, he’s never had a car or driver in the Indy 500 but said he’d look into renting a car for Prock to run. In typical fashion, it wasn’t quite clear if Force was being serious as he fired back that he wanted to keep the media “on their toes.”

“Trust me, this will be a headline,” Prock countered.

“That, kind of, excited me because I haven’t gone there yet and Rahal will take me and slap me around,” Force said, intimating that his son-in-law would question his sanity. “But I always looked for stuff that was exciting and he (Prock) jumped from the midgets to the dragsters to the funny cars and he just never misses a lick. You know what I am saying, he just keeps doing good.”

Later, when Tony Stewart, who is running an NHRA Top Fuel Dragster, came into the media center, Kickin’ the Tires asked his thoughts on Force putting Prock in a car and attempting the Indy 500. With his IndyCar background, Stewart is perhaps one of the best to evaluate an idea that is obviously in the early stages.

At first, Stewart thought the question was about Force getting in an IndyCar, to which he quickly replied, “My recommendation to John would be don’t get it in. He doesn’t have anything to prove, he is the GOAT and he doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody,” Stewart said.

“Austin could, I mean, he ran his midget out of shop at TSR (Tony Stewart Racing) for years, so I don’t know. If he wants to do it, you’ve got to follow your dreams. I’ve learned in my career, don’t ever say never. So, if that’s what he wants to do and gets the opportunity, we would obviously help out the best we can but I haven’t been in a car in 13 years, actually more than that, 23 years, so there are a lot of things that have changed in the sport, especially in IndyCar racing that I am totally on clueless on now.”

But then Stewart, who is a pretty savvy promotor, called on the media to get the word out and offered to call legendary racing superstar and IndyCar team owner, A.J. Foyt.

“I mean, we are talking about it now, I think we need to have a big blast go out that Austin Prock wants to run the Indy 500 next year. I like it,” Stewart said.

Only a handful of drivers have competed in drag racing and the Indianapolis 500 including, John Andretti, Kurt Busch, Danny Ongais, and Tony Stewart. Although none have ever competed in both the NHRA and the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in the same season.

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