HIGHT LOOKING TO CONTINUE WINNING WAYS IN POMONA
YORBA LINDA, CA (February 12, 2013) — In two days the start of the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will rev up at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and for 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight time cannot pass fast enough. Three times Hight has driven his Auto Club Ford Mustang into the winner’s circle at the kick-off event of the NHRA season. Most recently in 2011 Hight won the NHRA Winternationals and for the 27-time national event winner the first race of the year always has special meaning.
“I’m super-excited. The last time NHRA had a new sponsor in 2009, which was Full Throttle, I won the championship. To come out and be the first Mello Yello champ, that’s my goal. We’ve all had good luck at Pomona. We’ve won that race quite a few years in a row, the Winternationals. No different this year,” said Hight.
Hight will be joined in the Funny Car ranks by two teammates 15-time Funny Car champion John Force and 2012 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner Courtney Force.
“We have three great Ford Mustang Funny Cars that can come out and win. What I’m looking for with my Auto Club Mustang is a little more consistency. We got hot last year and won four in a row, but I want to win races throughout the whole season and definitely be ready for the Countdown to win the championship. We signed a long-term deal with Auto Club. They’re on for five years. That’s big. We have to prove to them that we can do this and do a good job for them.”
Hight was the No. 1qualifier at the Winternationals last season before being upset in the opening round by rookie Todd Lesenko. After that surprise loss Hight and his Jimmy Prock tuned Auto Club Funny Car did not lose another round for four and a half races racking up seventeen consecutive round wins and reaching five finals in six races, including four wins in a row.
Hight has had a dominant race car since his rookie season but every season the crewman turned driver has raised his expectations as a driver. When asked if he thought on-track success was more natural ability or experience the winningest Funny Car driver over the past five seasons gave a thoughtful response.
“I honestly think it’s 50-50. I mean, you’ve got to be able to feel what the car does and have a certain reaction to the tree and stuff. But I also believe with a certain amount of willpower, hard work and determination you can accomplish anything. If you work hard and want to do something, I believe you can be successful at it. But I do believe there has to be a certain amount of natural talent.”
Hight will bring his natural talent and dominant race car to the Winternationals on the heels of two enlightening test sessions over the off-season. In December his team spent two days in Florida testing and then they returned in January for nearly a week of full day test sessions. Each lap down the track gave the team more data to evaluate the direction the team was moving.
“I think we definitely learned a lot in testing. We have trying a number of different things with this Auto Club Mustang Funny Car. Jimmy has been slowly making adjustments so we don’t over-correct. These Funny Cars are so complex now that you really have to make small adjustments. Jimmy has a great handle on the direction we are going and it really showed on the last couple of days of testing,” said Hight.
“You can test a lot but it really matters once you start racing and I am excited to get to Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and start the season.”
HIGHT HAS SIGHTS ON VEGAS DOUBLE-UP
LAS VEGAS (October 22, 2012) — The Big O Tires NHRA Nationals is the penultimate Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event for 2012. In 2009 Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car team won this event and all but wrapped up their first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship. This year Hight will be trying to become just the sixth different driver and third JFR Funny Car driver to sweep the two Las Vegas events. Hight took out Bob Tasca III at the spring event final and this weekend he will be trying to double-up in 2012 and win for the third time in his past four appearances at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I love racing at The Strip. Las Vegas has always meant a lot to me even before I won in 2009. I didn’t clinch here but all I had to do was qualify in Pomona. This year the win the spring was our third win in a row this season and we went on to win four races in a row. I want to get another win here and finish this season on a high note,” said Hight.
A win by Hight would continue a strong streak of success when you consider a JFR driver has won five of the previous six Las Vegas NHRA national events. Hight has three wins and John Force has two. Force and former teammate Tony Pedregon are also the other two Funny Car drivers that have swept the Las Vegas Funny Car category.
Hight is less than two rounds out of 4th place in the Full Throttle point standings. While he is currently in 8th place, a tight grouping of drivers has Hight focused on making a strong run up the point standings starting this weekend. Hight has finished in the top ten every year of his professional career and that streak will continue this season.
“Your goal at the beginning of every season is the championship. Right now our goal is to finish as strong as possible. You look at all the drivers bunched up and there are some heavy hitters. We want to try and win as many rounds as possible to close out the season,” said Hight.
This year in the Countdown Hight has had to battle a number of issues including tough qualifying efforts and an even tougher Countdown field. Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang has qualified 7th, 15th, 7th and 10th in the first four races. For a Funny Car that has consistently been one of the quickest of the field this slump could not have come at a worse time.
“I have confidence in my crew chief Jimmy Prock and my guys. The Countdown is a completely different animal and you have to be hot at the end of the season. We have done that before but this season we were a little off coming into Charlotte and we just haven’t gotten our footing. We are not hanging our heads by any means and we are going to throw everything at the track this weekend,” said Hight.
(LAS VEGAS) — The NHRA 2012 Full Throttle Drag Racing series is approaching the completion of the season and is currently preparing for the second-to-last event; the 12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Lead “Rookie of the Year” contender Courtney Force says the pressure is on to keep up momentum and finish strong in her first professional year.
“The Las Vegas race is going to be exciting because I will be participating in the FanFest for an autograph signing along with my dad and my sister, Ashley, as well as some of the other drivers. I’m definitely looking forward to this race because my dad will be running a specialty Destination Force body which I’m excited to see! He will be making the Destination Force Comic book come to life in his Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Funny Car,” said Force.
Force had a memorable weekend in Reading, Pa. two weeks ago when she introduced and ran a special hot pink Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car body for breast cancer awareness and research. She qualified in the No. 5 spot, but suffered a tough loss in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
“Being that it is my Rookie Season, I’m very proud of our accomplishments as a team and what I have learned throughout the season. There are so many great rookie drivers competing this season, but I’m just proud to say that I’m one of them and just getting the opportunity to drive one of these 8,000 horsepower cars is a dream,” said Force.
The last time Force competed at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was only her fourth professional race in the Funny Car category. Since then, Force has competed in 17 races, picked up a win in Seattle, qualified in the No. 1 spot twice (Indianapolis and Dallas), and has broken a number of personal career-bests.
“It’s crazy to think how much things have changed for our Traxxas team since the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in Vegas earlier this year. That was only our fourth professional race I had participated in with my new team. Now, we have much more experience and we’ve all really meshed well as a team. I’m so proud of everything we have accomplished and feel like I have learned a lot since the beginning of the season,” said Force.
Force’s older sister, Ashley, went to her first two final rounds at Las Vegas; one in the fall of 2007 and one in the spring of 2008. The new mother of Jacob John Hood was also No. 1 qualifier at Las Vegas in the fall of 2010.
“Being that this is the second-to-last race of the season, I’m hoping that we can have a consistent car throughout qualifying and really try to go rounds on Sunday so that we can go into Pomona in a good position. We just hope to get qualified and do the best we can and hopefully move forward in the points standings,” said Force.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Jack Beckman and Ron Capps lead the NHRA Funny Car contingent into this week’s 12th annual Big O Tires Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway because theirs are the two quickest hot rods in the history of 1,000-foot drag racing, both having covered that distance in fewer than 4.0 seconds.
Mike Neff and his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang are in contention for the $500,000 championship for far more cerebral reasons.
That he has a chance with only two races remaining in the Full Throttle Series is testament to Neff’s discipline as both driver and crew chief on a Ford that has won four times this season, never from the No. 1 starting position but twice from qualifying spots outside the quick eight.
Coming off a back-to-the-wall victory two weeks ago at Reading, Pa., the 46-year-old trails Beckman by 54 points and Capps by 31 with only this week’s showdown and the season-ending Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif., remaining.
“I just wanted to be able to head out west with a chance,” Neff said of his Reading victory, his 10th in a driving career that didn’t begin until he was 41. “We did exactly what we needed to do. Jack and Ron had a pretty good lead on us and we couldn’t give up any more ground. Realistically, we needed to win the last three races to have a chance. Now we just need to win two.”
Although he has won just one racing round at Las Vegas as a driver, the former off-road truck mechanic prefers to focus on 2010 when, as crew chief, he sent boss and teammate John Force to consecutive victories to end the season and win the championship.
That’s a scenario he feels like he must duplicate if he hopes to become the first in 38 years to win an NHRA Funny Car title in the dual role.
His advantage is his ability to adapt to conditions and to avoid temptation.
While his rivals were swinging for the fences in Reading, Neff was content to take what he could and avoid the big mistake. It’s a strategy he’ll adopt again this week.
“Those three second runs were impressive,” he said, “but I just didn’t have that. I didn’t want to take the chance, try to run three seconds and smoke the tires. I decided to play it safe and just try and get the round wins. We did all we could and it felt good to make some forward progress.
“We’ve been running better lately,” said the two-time former world championship-winning crew chief (first with Gary Scelzi in 2005), “and I’m just happy to be in contention. Definitely, these last two races are going to be exciting for everyone.”
Indeed, Neff was burned a year ago when he led the points for most of the regular season, winning five times, but then fading to fifth place in the Countdown. This year, he admittedly used the regular season races primarily as preparation for the playoffs.
“It’s not an exact science,” Neff has said of preparing an 8,000 horsepower race car for a zero-to-320 mile-an-hour trip down a 1,000 foot straight line race course. “There are always challenges you have to deal with. Anything can happen.
“(But) that’s what’s so exciting about NHRA drag racing. You can’t make it up in the next turn. You get one shot at it. You either get it right, you catch a break or it’s over with – and you have to do that four times in one day.”
That’s the challenge. It’s one that Neff welcomes.
“This is why you put all that work in over the winter and go through the whole season,” he said, “to come to the very end and have a shot to win. That’s all you can ask for.”
HIGHT LOOKING FOR TRIPLE PLAY IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA, KS (May 14, 2012) — Last year in Topeka Robert Hight was attempting to set a couple of personal records and one giant team record when his Auto Club Ford Mustang rolled up to the starting line beside teammate Mike Neff in the NHRA Dollar General Summer Nationals final round. On the line for Hight was the possibility of defending his 2010 Summer Nationals win and he was also gunning for his first three-race win streak. The big prize for Hight or Neff was winning the 200th NHRA Funny Car race for John Force Racing. Hight got the win 4.284 to Neff’s 4.562 and kept his winning streak alive.
“Getting that win in Topeka last year was pretty amazing. We came in early for the press conference and Don Garlits was there. We got to talk for a few minutes and that really got me fired up for the weekend. I love talking with legends like Garlits, Prudhomme, and Bernstein. I wanted to repeat at Topeka and also keep that winning streak going. I had never won three races in a row so that was really a big deal for me,” said Hight.
“We also knew that there was the chance to win the 200th Funny Car race for John Force Racing. I really wanted to that honor. I had seen John win so many big races that to be the driver to get the 200th I thought that would be pretty cool. It worked out great because it was me and Neff in the final so there was no pressure. You knew one of us was going to get the win and we just let it all hang out in the final.”
After that win Hight raced to his fourth consecutive final before falling to Matt Hagan in the final round at Chicago. Hight won an impressive fifteen consecutive rounds during his winning streak. Hight used some of that experience this season when he got on a roll winning four races in a row including the tough Four-Wide Nationals. Ironically, Hight won four races in a row, but only equaled his personal-best round win record at 15 due to the three round Four-Wide race. Hight set his latest round win record at 17 consecutive rounds when he continued winning and raced to the semi-finals at Houston.
“Last year we got three wins in a row and this year we have won four in a row. I want to get three in a row at Topeka. There are just a handful of Funny Car drivers that have won the same event three years in a row and I would love to join that club,” said Hight.
If Hight wins this weekend he will become the third Funny Car driver to win the Dollar General Summer Nationals three consecutive years. The first to get the three-peat was Funny Car world champion turned Top Fuel crew chief Marc Oswald who won from 1989-91. A decade later Tony Pedregon took three Wally’s in a row at Topeka from 2001-03. Only five drivers – Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Oswald, Pedregon and John Force – have won three consecutive Funny Car titles or more at the same event in NHRA history. The longest event winning streak is held by John Force who won the historic Gatornationals five consecutive years from 1992-96.
Hight has a commanding lead – 203 points over No. 2 drivers Mike Neff and Ron Capps – in the points racking up 702 points in just seven races. If his stumble – a first round loss to No. 16 qualifier Todd Lesenko – at the season opening Winternationals is subtracted he is averaging 110 points per race. This is 85% of all available points. As it stands, even with the Winternationals included Hight has garnered an astonishing 77% of all available points for Funny Cars over the first seven races.
“Having this points lead is a luxury. (Crew chief) Jimmy Prock and my guys have been giving me a great race car. We got to the final in Atlanta and gave Capps a run for his money. I think if we would not have dropped a cylinder versus Head in the semis we might have had lane choice and then who knows what the outcome could have been. Capps’ Funny Car has been running great lately and so has this Auto Club Ford Mustang,” said Hight.
Prior to the Dollar General Summer Nationals, Hight will be one of many NHRA drivers attending the Speedfest in downtown Topeka. The free event will give fans the chance to meet a number of drivers as well as participate in contests, racing simulators, music, food, prizes and race car displays. The free event is scheduled from 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. on 8th Street and Kansas Avenue.
“I am really looking forward to the Speedfest in Topeka. I know Brittany Force’s BrandSource Top Fuel dragster will be on display. The fans in Kansas and the Midwest are great,” said Hight.
AFTER ATLANTA STUMBLE, NEFF BACK ON TRACK
TOPEKA, Kan. – Mike Neff’s qualifying failure at the most recent event in the NHRA Full Throttle drag racing series prompted the versatile 45-year-old to pay a grudging compliment to the Countdown to 1 playoff system that burned him so badly a year ago.
“Days like that are one thing that is positive about the Countdown,” he said of his stumble at the Summit Southern Nationals at Atlanta, Ga. “Fortunately, that’s not going to hurt us too bad.”
In fact, Neff didn’t even lose a position in the driver standings. He will begin his bid for a Funny Car victory in this week’s 24th annual Dollar General Summer Nationals at Heartland Park-Topeka trailing only teammate Robert “Top Gun” Hight in points.
That is not to say that the man who is both driver AND crew chief on the Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang is mellowing his stance on a system that last year transformed his virtually insurmountable 215-point regular season lead into a margin easily overcome by not one, not two, but four different drivers including eventual champion Matt Hagan.
“These early races are worth nothing at the end of the season,” Neff said of the 17 events leading up to the Countdown. “They’re going to reshuffle our points after Indy anyway. Sure, you want to qualify at every race – and you want to win, but you’re going to have good days and bad days. We’re trying some different stuff right now and some of it’s working and some of it isn’t.”
In fact, a mechanical issue was Neff’s undoing at Atlanta.
“On the very first run, it was running down there and ‘pop,’ there goes the blower,” said the World Championship-winning crew chief to Gary Scelzi (2005) and John Force (2010). “We’re thinking ignition, so we replaced all that.
“Then, (on the last run) we were running good enough to qualify and the cap for the spool where the barrel valve slides in (came off),” he explained. “Basically, it unplugged the barrel valve while the fuel was in it. That made it run lean and it popped the blower.
“It wasn’t going to be anything earthshattering,” he admitted, “(but) it was going to qualify. That’s just drag racing. I guess we used up all our luck to get the win in Houston. We’ll be fine.”
Except for Atlanta, where he DNQed for just the third time in his driving career, Neff has been one of the top two or three contenders at every race this season. Runner-up at Pomona, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz., he finally won at Houston despite the erratic performance of his usually flawless Ford.
Trying to become the first Funny Car racer in 38 years to win the series championship while serving in the dual role of driver/crew chief, the former motocross racer and off-road truck mechanic knows that whatever success he enjoys right now is inconsequential in his pursuit of the ultimate goal.
“It’s all about timing,” he said. “These early races are about finding the limits and getting ready for the Countdown. It’s all about who has the best car in those last six races. You could win all the other races and it still wouldn’t matter. It comes down to a six-race season.”
That said, the seven-time tour winner still is committed to winning as many of the remaining “preliminary” races as possible, a quest that begins Friday in an event in which he was runner-up to teammate Hight just a year ago.
HIGHT ENDS PERSONAL STREAK WANTS TO MAINTAIN TEAM STREAK IN ATLANTA
ATLANTA (May 1, 2012) — When Robert Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang struck the tires in the semi-finals at the O’Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston his goal of winning five consecutive Funny Car NHRA national events went up in smoke. For many racers getting that close to a historic accomplishment and coming up short might have had them sulking in their lounge for the rest of the day.
Not Hight. Less than an hour later he was on the ropes at the end of the Auto Club trailer signing for his fans and accepting encouraging words from hundreds of supporters. He was also on the starting line supporting his teammate Mike Neff’s bid for his first victory of the 2012 season. As the win light came on for Neff, Hight took a huge amount of satisfaction in the fact that the John Force Racing winning streak was still intact at 6-0 to start the season.
“I would be lying if I told you I didn’t want to win five races in a row. Honestly, when I saw Capps driving away from me the first thing I thought of was a feeling that this was going to be Neff’s day. I wanted Neff to keep the JFR streak going and that is just as good as me winning. He’s locked into the Traxxas Showdown at Indy and so far the only three drivers guaranteed a spot are me and my teammates (Neff and Winternationals winner John Force),” said Hight, the run-away points leader in Funny Car.
Hight’s run for history may have come up short by he is still in rare air as a four in a row winner. Only five drivers in the history of NHRA have won four Funny Car races in a row and that roster is a Hall of Fame Who’s Who. Names like Prudhomme, Bernstein, Cruz Pedregon, Force and Hight. When Hight sees that list he is still amazed his name ranks with those greats.
“The guys that have won four in a row are hands down Hall of Fame drivers. I just want to keep doing my job and getting the most out of the Auto Club Ford Mustang. I want another Funny Car championship. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) and I talk about dominating for a whole season. We won 17 consecutive rounds which is the most for either of us. We can get another streak started in Atlanta but it won’t be easy,” said the two-time Summit Racing Southern Nationals winner.
In his previous seven appearances at Atlanta Dragway Hight has raced to four finals and he’s picked up two wins. This year he is bringing arguably his most dominant car but the competition has never been stiffer. Even though only three drivers have won Funny Car races so far in 2012 Hight knows that there are at least half a dozen Funny Cars that are capable of getting a win at any moment.
“You look at the level of competition and it is never been higher in Funny Car. We have four strong Funny Cars at JFR. The Don Schumacher Funny Cars have been in the hunt all season. Jeff Arend had a great car in Houston plus you add Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson and on race day your battle starts in the first round,” said Hight.
Hight will start his race week on Wednesday night at the Coca-Cola Champions banquet. On Thursday night Hight’s boss and team owner John Force will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega.
“I am looking forward to the Coca-Cola Champions banquet and I am really excited Force is going into the Hall of Fame with Kenny Bernstein and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress. I have seen how hard John works to be successful and if anyone deserves the Hall of Fame it is him,” said Hight.
With six races off the schedule Hight has already won multiple races, been No. 1 qualifier three times, secured the points lead and moved up the all-time Funny Car win list (from 9th to 7th all-time). Heading into Atlanta he knows that getting another win is within his reach based on his team’s recent performance.
“Jimmy and Eric Lane have been working great together. We have won races in just about every temperature so the weather this weekend, which is predicted to be in the high 80s- low 90s, should not affect us. My Auto Club Ford Mustang will be ready and our goal will be to get another win and keep our sponsors like Auto Club, Castrol, Ford, Mac Tools, BrandSource and Traxxas in the winners’ circle,” concluded Hight.
HOUSTON (April 23, 2012) — Robert Hight is not looking at streak records or career stats as he gets geared up for the 25th annual NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway Park this weekend. The winner of the past four NHRA Funny Car national event titles says his number one goal for this weekend is to get his AAA Texas Ford Mustang Funny Car qualified on Friday and then make consistent runs on Saturday to get ready for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I am proud of my guys and especially my crew chief Jimmy Prock for giving me a Funny Car that has been in position to win the past four races. It has been a team effort. The car has won some races and I have done a pretty good job driving it. We are all focused on just getting qualified and going rounds,” said Hight, a three-time No. 1 qualified in 2012.
While Hight attempts to downplay the significance of his current win streak he recognizes that he has placed his name on a list with some legendary drivers. Only three other drivers have ever won five races in a row and they are hands-down first ballot Hall of Famers when you consider their names are Don Prudhomme, teammate and boss John Force and two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon. Only five drivers have won four races in a row when you add Hight and 2012 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Bernstein to that trio of drivers.
“You look at the final quad of racers at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. It was Force, Pedregon, Ron Capps and me. Those three other guys are guaranteed Hall of Famers. That was a big win for us. It is hard enough to win one race out here but to win four in a row is more than I could have dreamed,” said Hight.
Hight’s career has been meteoric from the start when you consider he won for the first time at Royal Purple Raceway Park in only his fifth start as a professional. His Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car was so dominant in qualifying his rookie season that he earned his way into the Skoal Showdown even though he did not compete in half of the eligible races. He has won multiple races every year of his career and he has led the points at least one event every year as well. Those two stats are qualifications that no other driver has ever achieved.
“I have been lucky to get a great opportunity from John Force to be with a tremendous team led by Jimmy Prock. The biggest key to my success has been the fact that we have kept my crew guys together. Our core group of 7-8 guys has been together since my rookie year. I want to continue to keep getting better as a driver because I know my guys are pouring their guts into this race car,” said Hight, a former clutch specialist on John Force’s Castrol GTX Mustangs in the 90s.
With four wins under his belt so far in 2012, Hight has ironically only tied his all-time consecutive round win record. In 2010 he won three races in a row and advanced to a fourth consecutive final versus Matt Hagan before losing in Chicago, giving the 2009 Funny Car champ a career-best 15 straight round wins. He has matched that streak this year, but he has four Wally’s to show for the effort considering he got his fourth win in only three rounds due to the unique Four-Wide format in Charlotte.
“You definitely want to win as many races as you can. I have had a number of interviews lately when people have asked me would I rather win now or in the Countdown at the end of the season. I want to win now and at the end of the season,” said Hight, a 27-time Funny Car national event winner. “I don’t think you can pick when you win. You just have to take advantage of every opportunity. Jimmy and I have talked about wanting to dominate a whole season. I am hoping we are on one of those streaks like Force in ‘96 or Tony Schumacher in ’08. Those guys won over ten races in those seasons and they won Driver of the Year. I am not looking that far ahead, but I want to keep going rounds and see where we wind up at the end of the season.”
CHARLOTTE, NC — Robert Hight and the Auto Club team continued their streak of Funny Car dominance winning for the fourth time in a row this season with their first win at the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals today. This is just the 7th occasion for a Funny Car driver to win four in a row in NHRA history. Hight defeated Cruz Pedregon on a hole-shot, 4.074 to Pedregon’s 4.070 in the final as both drivers drove away from Ron Capps and John Force.
“I saw the win light on the wall but I am not sure that is even all programmed right especially for the final. The other two rounds there are two win lights. I wasn’t getting too excited yet but Eric Lane, our back-up crew chief, he got on the radio and he was all excited. I knew I won by the sound of his voice,” said Hight, the Funny Car points leader. “This class is so tough just getting one win is tough. Racing those three guys in the final, Cruz, Capps, Force, those guys are all Hall of Famers. They are guys I grew up watching. They all have more wins than me. Just to be out there racing those guys and to actually beat them is unbelievable. To win one of these races is tough but to win four in a row is stuff that you don’t even dream about. I don’t see why we need to stop here.”
The last time a driver won four in a row was John Force in 1994 where he went on to win five race consecutively. In two weeks Hight will compete at Royal Purple Raceway Park at the O’Reilly Spring Nationals, site of his first Funny Car win where he will be vying for his fifth win in a row.
Only four other drivers have ever won four in a row Force, Pedregon, Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme. The in-season Funny Car record for consecutive wins is five which Prudhomme earned at the start of the 1976 season and Cruz duplicated in 1992 Force has won five in a for twice in back to back season, 1993 and 1994. The total record for consecutive wins is seven in a row by Prudhomme when he won the last two races of 1975 and then the first five of 1976.
For Hight the win was also the second win in a row from the No. 1 qualifying position. In Las Vegas Hight became the first winner from the top spot at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“In Funny Car it is kind of the kiss of death to qualify No. 1. You look back at my record as a No. 1 qualifier and it isn’t that great. In Vegas we pulled it off and then to come here and get the No. 1,” said Hight. “You start thinking this is getting a little tough. Jimmy Prock and my team stuck together. That 4.01 (second) blast in the first round got a lot of people’s attention.”
In qualifying Hight only made one full pull to the finish line. His 4.074 second pass on Saturday morning was enough to grab the top spot. In the media center Hight was asked if he was nervous going into eliminations with only one good run under his belt.
“I wasn’t concerned at all. I have a lot of confidence in my team and what we have been doing. We were on the good side of a tune up. That is an easy thing to fix. (Jimmy Prock) saw the clouds this morning and he got excited. He was able to step all over it. We were really close to a three second run there. We ran 320 mph and I don’t know what I ran in the final because we just missed backing that up for a national record. We were like three tenths off.”
Hight just missed setting the NHRA national speed record. His opening round run today of 4.014 seconds at 320.81 mph was a head turning pass. It also out ran his 317.19 mph back-up needed to secure the record.
“In a Funny Car the biggest thing I get is the noise and when it is running right and revving up to 8200 rpms at a thousand feet. That is music to my ears and that is when I know it is going on a good run. It is really flying. We took a lot of wing off my Mustang for first round. When it is running that fast it feels like it doesn’t have a lot of down force and it just is kind of skating at the top end. That is a cool sensation.”
After the first round run Hight advanced to the final on the strength of his second round run at 4.185 seconds. It was not a picture perfect run but it was enough to trip a win light.
“It was really running good in the second round but it welded the clutch. It was running better than the 4.07 yesterday. It just pulled the tires off. That was a hairy run. It really started spinning really hard and with four wide you just keep your foot in it. It is moving all over the place and the engine sounds like it is going to blow up. I got the win light and Jimmy looked at the data and said he could fix it. He said no matter what lane we go in he can fix it and he did. It was flawless and it didn’t spin a bit in the final.”
The Funny Car win was Hight’s 27th of his career tying him with former JFR teammate Tony Pedregon for second place at JFR. Pedregon has 43 career Funny Car wins. Hight is now two wins behind two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon on the all-time Funny Car win list and a tie for 6th place.
In the final John Force launched right after Hight and was right with the leaders before his Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang smoked the tires at about half track. He crossed the finish line with a time of 6.814 seconds.
“As a driver, it wasn’t where I wanted to be- I wanted to win, but our car is making a lot of progress getting to the final set of cars here at four-wide. Robert Hight, boy, even when they outrun him by a hair, he still gets them on the Christmas tree,” said Force, the inaugural Four-Wide champion. “I think he might be the best out here on that tree. You know what I’m sayin’? He doesn’t fail. At the end of the day, we got five finals, we got five wins. I got one, Mike Neff will be there next and so will Courtney (Force).”
Mike Neff opened the Funny Car eliminations with a commanding run of 4.084 seconds to be the quickest Funny Car of the second round quad. Unfortunately, in the next round Neff fell to Ron Capps and John Force as his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang blew up at the top end.
“We were happy with our first run today and then our second round- we felt good about our set-up and everything, but it just seemed like when the car left it kind of pulled me over towards the centerline,” said Neff. “I got out of the groove and it spun the tires. It’s a little disappointing to go down that way because we actually did feel pretty good, but I’m excited to see John and Robert in there and hopefully one of them can pull off a four-wide win today for Ford, Castrol, Auto Club, BrandSource, Mac Tools, Freightiner and Traxxas.”
For Neff it was another strong performance but a winner’s circle has continued to elude the driver and tuner.
This marks the fifth race in a row BrandSource has given away a 55” flat screen TV to a lucky fan and JFR has also given away three sets of front loading washers and dryer for being the No. 1 qualifier.
Courtney Force entered her first Four-Wide eliminations this morning holding onto the No. 12 spot. The quartet of Funny Car drivers Force was included in also contained Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon and fellow rookie Todd Lesenko. Force qualified 12th and had third lane choice. Ron Douglas, crew chief of the Traxxas Ford Mustang chose the lane one. Lane choice played a huge part in this weekend’s results, but unfortunately the new team is also still getting settled into a competitive routine of their own.
Force ran a 4.191 ET at over 298 mph, but fell victim to the numbers of Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon at 4.071 and 4.085.
“First round we were out ahead of everyone and a little ways out it dropped a hole and just kinda slowed my car down so it lost a lot of ET and mph because of that. The guys went around me so we lost first round,” Force said.
Despite the rookie’s first round loss, she continues to maintain a positive outlook on her future in the Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car.
“I feel good looking at our 60-foot and 330-foot incrementals from today and a couple of the qualifying runs. I feel like we have potential for a good racecar, but we’re just working out the kinks. I have a great team that’s standing by me. I think we’ll get it together and we’ll try it out again in Houston. We’re going to be testing here tomorrow so maybe we can learn something from that and get it fixed,” added Force.
CHARLOTTE, NC (April 10, 2012) – Full Throttle NHRA Funny Car points leader Robert Hight would love to race every weekend. In fact between NHRA races he frequently takes in NASCAR races like the recent Auto Club 400 in Fontana where he spent the weekend with the No. 16 team of Greg Biffle. This weekend Hight will be back on the race track in the heart of NASCAR country, competing in the 3rd annual Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway. Racing four wide in his Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny car is about as close at the 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion will get to swapping paint like his NASCAR counterparts.
“I enjoy going to NASCAR races but I don’t think I would ever race over there. There is nothing like the thrill of hitting the throttle on my Auto Club Mustang and feel it pull off the starting line and then you are at the finish line at over 300 mph,” said Hight.
“I have such a great team led by Jimmy Prock and Eric Lane I couldn’t be happier. We are off to a great start and I want to keep this momentum going at the Four-Wide race. We have another chance to get four wins in a row and it would be cool to get our fourth in a row at the Four-Wide Nationals.
Hight has picked up wins in Phoenix, Gainesville and two weeks ago in Las Vegas as he rolls into zMax Dragway. This is the second time he has won three races in a row. In 2010 he picked up wins in St. Louis, Atlanta, and then Topeka.
As a three in a row winner Hight has joined an illustrious list of drivers. The last Funny Car driver to win three in a row before HIght did it in 2010 and this season was Cruz Pedregon who won the last three races of the 2008 season to secure his second Full Throttle Funny Car championship. Other notables with three in a row on their racing resume include John Force (11 times), Don Prudhomme (twice), Tony Pedregon and Frank Hawley.
If Hight can extend the streak to four in a row he would become one of only three drivers win four in a row (Kenny Bernstein, 1987 and John Force, 2000). The longest consecutive Funny Car event win streak in seven by Don Prudhomme (1975-76). Prudhomme won the last five races of the 1975 season (an in-season record) and the first two of the 1976 season.
“Jimmy and I talk all the time about trying to put together a dominant season like, Force or Prudhomme. We are not thinking about records only about being consistent. That has been the key for us during this streak. My team has been together for so many years my guys know what their job is and they can support each other. It has been a great three race especially winning the Gatornationals. I want to win the Four-Wide because it is such a unique race,” said Hight.
While Hight has never reached the final quartet of the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals he has had some success at zMax Dragway in the fall. In 2009 he won the event and took that momentum on to his first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship.
“Bruton Smith has built us the ultimate race track and you want to win here because the fans are great and you see a lot of new fans. On Thursday we are going to spend time with Freightliner so we’ll have some of those folks out all weekend and they are one of our newest sponsors.”
Hight took the Full Throttle points lead with his victory at the Bruton Smith owned Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and he continued a career long streak of leading the points at least once during every professional season. He has also won multiple races every year of his career. For HIght leading the points is great but with the Countdown leading the points in April doesn’t have the same impact as in years past.
“You like being the points leader anytime you can get into the top spot. I’ll be honest though you really can’t get too excited until you are the points leader in early November. You need to get hot in the Countdown like I did in 2009. The good thing about being hot now is we can really look at our tune up and take some chances during qualifying to figure some things out. You want to get good data at tracks like Charlotte since we’ll be back here in the fall running for our second championship,” added Hight.
Finally, Hight wants to keep giving away washer and dryers and televisions to NHRA fans. So far in 2012 John Force Racing has given a lucky fan a 55” flat screen television at the conclusion of every race as part of the “Win with Force” promotion led by BrandSource and JFR sponsors Castrol, Mac Tools, Ford, and Auto Club. In addition two lucky fans have won front loading washer and dryer set when HIght was the No. 1 qualifier in Pomona and again last race in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS, NV — For the third time in 2012 and the 26th time in his career Robert Hight has picked up another NHRA national event win, taking the “Wally” at the 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. Hight won from the No. 1 qualifying position, a first in the Funny Car class at the spring event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He defeated fellow Ford driver Bob Tasca III in the final after dispatching Terry Haddock, Gary Densham and Bob Bode.
“Being No. 1 qualifier in Pomona was sort of a curse but I don’t look at it as too bad of a curse. You make your own luck. Most of the time when you lose out here you beat yourself. There are no underdogs. The TV cameras were talking about the underdogs running good like Bode, Densham or Haddock and I told them to stop because there are no underdogs. Anybody can win in this class,” said Hight. “No No. 1 qualifier has ever won here and not that many people have even repeated here.”
In the final Hight never trailed in the race. He got off the line first and his elapsed time of 4.154 seconds was well out in front of Tasca’s 4.213 second run.
“This class and the parity; it has never been this close. It is exciting and it makes winning three in a row all the more special. It is a lot of pressure on the driver. When our other teams go out early and those guys are over here helping my guys between rounds. When the crew chief walks away that means you have the car and it is all on you. It is a lot of pressure not having John on the TV doing interviews and helping me out there because he is the king at all this.”
This is the second time in Hight’s career he has won three races in a row and he has officially moved into the Full Throttle points lead. Hight has led the Funny Car points each year of his professional career going back to his rookie season in 2005. No Funny Car driver has achieved this feat.
“We have made a lot of test runs here (The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). We have a lot of experience on this race track. The conditions here are a little tricky. It is a little harder to make power. You are halfway to Denver in elevation. We have a lot of data and a lot of good crew chiefs. Those crew chiefs definitely earn their money on a day like today when the conditions are constantly training. We have (track specialist) Lanny (Miglizzi) out there watching the track and starting line. We really are stacked top to bottom on our team with talent.”
“I am very pleased because we go to Gainesville in crusher conditions and we were able to run good. This is the hottest track we have been on all year and we were almost flawless,” said Hight. “We were one little adjustment away from making eight great runs in the top two every round. Jimmy Prock, you can just see it when you are in the car and he is not having a hundred trips to the box. You just see the confidence in his eyes and that gives you more confidence. You just go up there and cut a light and hopefully see that win light.”
Throughout the race day Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang was the model of consistency posting three consecutive times of 4.11 seconds before slowly slightly in the final to a winning time of 4.154 at 312.93 mph. Hight also becomes the first three time winner at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. He has won 15 times in his last 17 final rounds.
“Usually if you smoke the tires on the first run or don’t make it down the track that puts you behind the eight ball. We had a little different circumstance this Friday. We were so close to going that we were one adjustment away from making a great run. Jimmy really didn’t worry about it. It wasn’t like we were lost. We were very confident in what changes we needed to make to get it down there for the night run,” said the No.1 qualifier.
This is the fourth consecutive win for John Force Racing to start the 2012 season and for crew chief Jimmy Prock the win was a show of force as he has tuned his Funny Car to wins in three different climate and altitudes.
“This is three in a row for us and Robert and the Auto Club Ford Mustang so we’re off to a good start. We worked hard this winter to try and make ourselves better. We got off to kind of a bad start in Pomona, but we re-grouped after that. Everybody’s been working hard. The competition has been really tough, but we’ve just tried to run consistent and take it round by round,” said Prock. “Today was a good day for us. We were consistent and it’s always good to have an all-Ford final with (Bob) Tasca (III) and all of our guys pitching in to help out after they went out. It was a good team effort, I’m really excited and I hope that we keep it going.”
The tricky weather conditions gave many of the teams fits but for Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team it was a chance for them to flex their muscle with a tune-up for any condition.
“When I would take my right hand off the wheel to hit my parachutes it would suck me over to the wall and I bet you I wasn’t two feet away from the wall. You can just feel the steering wheel bend because you just can’t hold it. It made it challenging. Early on the grandstands shelter you and you just want to go smooth and straight. Down at the other end it is a little hairy,” said Hight.
“Earlier this week I told my guys to go out on Wednesday night and get it out of your system. We are in Vegas and there are a lot of temptations and distractions. Thursday through Saturday we are all business. We have to stay focused. Now they are going to kill me because we aren’t going to be able to do much partying tonight because we are going to come out here and test tomorrow. We have some new guys on board with John Medlen, Ron Armstrong and Dale Armstrong. Having those guys in my trailer between rounds is so exciting. There is so much experience and they have so many ideas. They work really well together. We will try and go to the Four Wide race and make it four wins in a row.”
“It is harder to start a streak than keep it going. It is not that easy to win out here. I am glad we only have one weekend off before we get to Charlotte and we are in for a treat. These are the best of the facilities.”
John Force lost in the first round for the third race in a row but the 15-time Funny Car champion is not getting discouraged. With the win at the season opening NHRA O’Reilly Winternationals he has secured his spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the $100,000 to win race within a race, at the Mac Tools US Nationals and he will leave Las Vegas firmly in the Top Ten in Full Throttle points.
“It ain’t over. Robert still has a shot at winning this. It’s just part of the game. We’re going through a learning curve here with a lot of new stuff. You gotta tip your hat to Gary Densham, coming out here running on a budget, making two runs, one qualifying run and then to run that 4.12,” said Force. “It impressed me. We’ll just stay positive. We got them all qualified. I think we’ll all stay in the top ten before this is over so we’ll see what happens.”
Throughout the weekend Mike Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang were challenging the racing conditions and working on a solid race day tune up. In the first round versus 2010 Funny Car champion Matt Hagan the side by side race was decided by the slimmest of margins at the finish line with Hagan getting his first win light of the season.
“I’m a little disappointed. We just didn’t make the right calls. We changed some stuff around today to try to fix a couple of things and ended up bringing on a couple new problems. We just never really hit our stride here this weekend,” said Neff, a two-time finalist in 2012. “We were clearly trying to run a lot better than that first round. Just disappointed that we weren’t on this weekend unfortunately, but it’s alright. We’re going to test tomorrow. We got some stuff that will hopefully help us out. Then we’ll go to Charlotte and try it again.”
Neff slipped to No. 2 in the Full Throttle points standings but he is solidly in position to make a run at his first win of the season in two weeks in Charlotte.
The newest addition to John Force Racing, the youngest daughter of the Force clan, Courtney Force came into the first round of eliminations today having spiked her way to the No. 4 spot in qualifying attempts.
Force endured an opening-round loss against Johnny Gray today. This was the first time Gray and Force have faced each other in eliminations. The Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car malfunctioned and threw out the parachutes just before Force clicked it off.
“I’m happy that we made it to the No. 4 qualifying spot. We got a good handle on our Traxxas Mustang Funny Car in the last qualifying session and I was really excited going into first round here on Sunday.”
“First round was a little bit of a bummer. We had a tough competitor with Johnny Gray. I had a good feeling our car would perform, I was ready for it to, but we just had a little malfunction with the parachute. It caused a load of problems for me on my run and he (Gray) was able to drive around me and get that win,” Force said.
Not only was Force’s 4.147 during her final qualifying shot the best start for any of the front runners for Rookie of the Year, but it amplified confidence in the Traxxas Mustang Funny Car team in only their fourth Full Throttle Drag Racing series event.
This is also the track where Force first ran 300 mph run on a night run and licensed last October.
“It’s always a bummer when your car leaves good and you don’t see him at first, but when something like that happens, that’s why they call it a drag race because you can’t do anything about it, just try to go after them in Charlotte,” said Force, a leading Rookie of the Year candidate.
LAS VEGAS, NV — Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team continued their hot streak at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway racing to the provisional No. 1 spot at the 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. Hight powered his Jimmy Prock tuned Ford Mustang Funny Car across the finish line in 4.13 2 seconds at an amazing 310.41 mph.
“Based on what everyone ran in the first run you had to be cautious. You had to be sure you got down there. Jimmy told me he thought it would run 4.12 or 4.13. It is really cool right now because he really has a handle on this Funny Car. It says a lot when you can go from a place like Gainesville and Phoenix and then here where we are half way in elevation to Denver here,” said Hight. “Good job to Jimmy Prock and my guys. You can see the confidence in him. As a driver you feel good because you are not sitting in the car watching someone make a lot of changes and being nervous. He goes in there and makes a change and boom it runs good. It is a lot of fun to run this thing right now.”
“All four of our Ford Mustangs are qualified. With the winds coming who know what tomorrow will bring. I really hope we get to run because we have (crew chief legends) Dale Armstrong and Ron Armstrong and we have some things we want to test. We are going to use the first run tomorrow to do some testing. We are definitely going to test on Monday. We have some things that maybe will catapult us out here a little bit,” added Hight.
For the back to back winner getting back to the track was key for the 2009 Funny Car champion.
“It is great to be back racing. Two weeks off is too long. We won Phoenix and we had two weeks off. We won Gainesville and we had two weeks off. I don’t want any more time off I want to keep racing,” said Hight. “Last weekend the Ford guys took me under their wing and I got to go to the NASCAR race. I was able to get in with the No. 16 car and watch them practice and qualify. I had the radio on and was able to watch and compare it to what we do. As a former crew man it was pretty cool and totally different.”
After two sessions of qualifying all four of the John Force Racing Mustang Funny Cars are qualified going into Saturday’s final day of qualifying. Teammates Mike Neff (4.186 seconds) and John Force (4.196 seconds) hold down the No. 5 and No. 6 provisional positions and Rookie of the Year candidate Courtney Force is No. 11 with a 4.274 second pass.
“It’s always a good day when you put your cars in the top 12. Robert is low (ET of the day) and Neff is right behind him there within a few. I got in with a 4.19 and Courtney ran a 4.27. That’s a new car she’s in this race,” said 15-time Funny Car champion John Force.
Mike Neff has the points lead coming into Las Vegas and the two-time finalist is please with where he ended the first day of racing. For the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang it is all about going rounds on Sunday something Neff has been so far very successful.
“To end up fifth at the end of the day today is great. We were definitely trying to run better the second run. The first run was really tricky. That was the hottest track we’ve seen this year, but we made it down the track. It put a cylinder out and didn’t run as good as I would have liked, but to be in the top 4 after Friday, I’m always good with that; not having to sweat it out on Saturday. I just look forward to getting two more shots tomorrow,” Neff said.
In the second session Courtney Force was paired with fellow Ford racer Tim Wilkerson and her run of 4.274 seconds was solid but put the rookie in a tough spot as she had to wait for a number of Funny Cars to run before she could relax.
“I raced here in Top Alcohol Dragster and I tested here last year in Funny Car so I’m a little familiar with the track. It’s a little different when there are a bunch of other cars running on it and obviously the heat and everything is changing it, but that’s just something I’m learning from. Each track you go to is going to be a little bit different, each lane is different and I’m working to figure out the differences and how to drive my car so I can get a better run out of it,” said Courtney Force. “It’s been good. The first run was a little tricky. It went out and smoked the tires. Last run was a little bit better in the left lane. It went down the track from A to B and that’s all I can really ask for as a driver. It got over towards the wall a little bit, but I drove it back in the groove and got it to the other end. It wasn’t the best run of the weekend, but it got us in, which is all that matters for our sponsors: Traxxas, BrandSource, Auto Club, Castrol, Ford, Mac Tools and Freightliner.”
The first qualifying session was filled with tire smoking passes as all the teams tried to get a handle on the race track. Hight was the quickest JFR Mustang of that session with a pedestrian 4.872 second pass.
“Everybody struggled a little with the first run. I think everyone was erring on the side of caution for the night run. I think we were just a couple of little adjustments on that first run from making a 4.15 run and if we could have done that we could have really gotten after it tonight.”
HIGHT WANTS TO ADD HISTORIC GATORNATIONALS TO WIN COLUMN
GAINESVILLE, FL (March 5, 2012) — As the NHRA starts its season on the East Coast at the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team want to keep their momentum rolling. Hight sits in second place in the Full Throttle Funny Car point standings sandwiched between two of his John Force Racing teammates, Mike Neff and John Force. A recent win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals has Hight riding a wave of confidence going into Florida.
“I had been to the finals in Phoenix twice before and I felt like I let them slip away. I didn’t want to do that this year. If you would have told me a 4.13 would get a win light versus Neff in the final I would have said you were crazy. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) has this Auto Club Mustang ready to race every pass. That gives me so much confidence,” said Hight.
With the Phoenix win Hight extended his streak of winning a race every year he has competed (seven straight) and he jumped into the No. 2 position in points. Neff has reached back-to-back finals this season and will be returning to Gainesville as the points leader and to defend his 2011 Gatornationals victory. The duo at the top of the points sheet knows the season is long and it is the Countdown that matters.
“I love getting off to a strong start. Seeing Neff race to both finals and seeing me and John in the winner’s circle is great for Ford Racing, Auto Club, Castrol, and all our sponsors. The key is to run consistent all year and that is hard to do. I want to focus on doing the little things right all season. Neff and Jimmy talk all the time and I know all the crew chiefs share info. We have a great group of crew chiefs and it is awesome to see John Medlen back in our pits,” said Hight.
On race day it is every man and woman for themselves. We have had all JFR finals the first two races and booth winners were surprises. Neff has had the strongest car but the worst luck in the finals. Now we need for Mike to get a win and for Courtney (Force) to keep developing. We want to have half the Funny Cars in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout which I think is doable with the way the system is set up. It was cool when I saw my name on that sign that said I was in the Shootout. Jimmy has won big money at Indy before and I want to get my hands on that $100,000.”
The first seven Funny Car and Top Fuel drivers to win in 2012 will lock up a spot in the inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout during the Mac Tools US Nationals. The winners (Funny Car and Top Fuel) of this race within a race will win $100,000. So far Force and Hight have the first two Funny Car slots and Spencer Massey and Antron Brown are secure in the Top Fuel field. If there are not seven winners at the Brainerd cut off, the remaining spots will be filled by top finishers in points with the final spot being filled by a fan vote/lottery.
The historic significance of the Gatornationals will be at the forefront for Hight and the rest of the drivers competing in Gainesville when you consider this is the 20th anniversary of Kenny Bernstein breaking the 300 mph barrier. As a student of the sport Hight knows getting a win at the Gatornationals ranks up at the top of anyone’s career highlights.
“The Gatornationals is a special race. When Kenny broke the 300 mph barrier that was so big for our sport, it definitely proved we were the fastest motorsport and had some of the most dominant teams. Now 20 years later we are celebrating that achievement and I would also like to be celebrating in Gainesville. I haven’t even reached the finals here and I want to get that win,” said the 24-time winner.
The nearly three week lay-off between Phoenix and Gainesville gave Hight the chance to go back in time. The first weekend of March Hight was in Bakersfield, Calif., at the March Meet enjoying the sights and sounds of nostalgia Funny Cars and hot rods from years past.
“You see the Funny Cars like the Blue Max and you just get chills. Those were the stars of the sport and they are the reason I am lucky enough to be racing professionally. You can’t forget your past and you have to keep an eye on the future too. It was a great weekend in Bakersfield but when I heard those Funny Cars fire up and do their burn outs I wanted to get to Gainesville as fast as I could,” said Hight.
Last year Hight picked up first time wins in Bristol and Reading so getting another first time double win by adding the Gatornationals to his Phoenix win would have Hight sitting in a great position to start the season. Unless HIght faced Neff in the final again he would also be in position to extend his streak of leading the points during the season something he has done every year of his career.
“Leading the points now is great but you really want to be leading the points when the Auto Club Finals are over in November. Every win matters no doubt about it and getting multiple wins in a season again would be a big deal. We know the season is a marathon not a sprint and if you look around our class you see a lot of world class teams that can get hot at any time. We want to be in a position to get hot, stay hot and win another Full Throttle Funny Car world championship,” said Hight.