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.