ROBERT HIGHT QUALIFIES No. 1 AT AAA TEXAS FALLNATIONALS
ENNIS, TX – Robert Hight and the AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team secured their 49th career No. 1 and 5th at AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals. This was the second No. 1 for Hight this season and also the second in the past three races. Hight’s quickest run of 3.839 seconds from Friday stood up throughout out the day. On Saturday Hight made two more runs in the 3.8s and will face Brandon Welch in the first round.
The team has been making strides since St. Louis and this weekend they once again picked up qualifying bonus points in three rounds and just missed having one of the quickest runs in the fourth and final round.
“Starting at St. Louis, we’ve turned things around. We were real good there, too. Reading had some weird conditions and we just didn’t get caught up there, but to come out here to Texas – my sponsor’s race – and make four runs in the 3.80s in a Funny Car, that’s showing that we’ve got it going on. They have a good handle on it, they’re confident with it, my teammates are running 3.80s, and we’re right at the top,” said Hight, who has won the AAA Texas Fallnationals twice before. “It’s exciting to have a qualifying like that, but tomorrow is a new day. What we’ve been having problems with is sealing the deal on Sunday. First round we usually do pretty well, and there have been a lot of second-round losses. It’s going to be a tough match tomorrow. It’s going to take the kind of runs we did in qualifying to win this race tomorrow. I believe my team is on to something. I want to win one of those cowboy hats.”
Hight is facing an uphill battle for the championship but the 2009 champion knows he can only take it one round at a time. The success over the two days of qualifying has Hight excited about race day.
“I believe we got the most out of every run. To come out and run the third-best time in history, that wasn’t a slouch. It was a great run. And to come out here today and back it off just enough and make good runs shows that you have to make a good run on Friday night so you’re not faced with having to improve on Saturday. It’s a whole new game of racing than it was 10 years ago. It used to back it off, go out there and make a run and you’d still have lane choice second round. Not anymore. You have to push and be aggressive every single run or you’re going to be picked off.”
In the final session John Force and the Advance Auto Parts PEAK Camaro smoked the tires beside point leader Ron Capps. The Jon Schaffer tuned Funny Car was looking for the edge as far as the tune-up and on race day the team can pull back the tune up. Force will face Alexis DeJoria in the first round. The six-time AAA Texas Fallnationals winner holds a 16-9 head to head win record against DeJoria. The last time Force faced DeJoria in the first round Force took the win and went on to win the national event at Sonoma Raceway.
“She’s a good racer with a great team over there. Bottom line is we ran 3.86 and we are starting to turn the corner like I have been saying. We are 8th and I am amazed. We have lance choice. Courtney and Robert ran better than me but these Chevrolet bodies are working. Robert running so low that was big for us to show we can run with anyone. We have some work to do but we still have a shot at this title,” said Force who has 146 national event wins.
In the first session on Saturday John Force and the Advance Auto Parts PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car charged to the top of the session with a 3.867 second run. It was the quickest run and earned Force three qualifying bonus points. Right behind Force Robert Hight and the AAA Texas Camaro team were the second quickest Funny Car with a 3.872 second run, picking up two bonus points and giving each team confidence that they have a good handle on the hot race track conditions at Texas Motorplex.
The Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car got the most out of the last qualifying session running 3.868 seconds and posting the second quickest run of the final round of qualifying. The time did not move up Courtney Force in the qualifying order but it have the fifth year pro some confidence going into race day. Force wil face two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon. This is the first time they have raced in2016 but Force knows she has to be prepared for a tough race.
“I think we have had a pretty fast race car this weekend. This Traxxas Chevy Camaro has been flying down the track. I am proud of these great numbers we are putting up on the scoreboard. Running in the 3.8s consistently is really a big deal out here in the heat. I am looking to sweep the state of Texas and this is a make or break time for this Traxxas Funny Car. My team has been working hard all weekend,” said Force who won this race in 2014. “They have done a great job with this car and I have a lot of confidence going into the race day tomorrow. We have a tough competitor going up against Cruz Pedregon. If we can keep running like we have been this weekend I think we will be in good shape. I want to get this breast cancer awareness Traxxas Funny Car in the winner’s circle. ”
Courtney Force and the pink Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro launched hard but at about half track her Danny Hood and Ronnie Thompson tuned Funny Car smoked the tires beside Tommy Johnson Jr in the opening qualifying session. The scoreboards lit up with respectively pedestrian elapsed times of 4.690 and 4.415 seconds. Force will go into race day as the No. 5 qualifier and will face veteran driver Cruz Pedregon in the first round. The consistency that Force showed throughout the season returned at the Texas Motorplex.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster made a solid run to close out qualifying at the AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals. In the final session running beside Doug Kalitta the fourth year pro lit up the scoreboard with a 3.746 seconds at 325.33 mph run that was the quickest run of the session to that point. At the end of the day Force will go into race day as the No. 5 qualifier and will face Terry McMillen. Force is 9-1 against the veteran driver and this season Force has picked up four round wins this season over McMillen including the final round at the Gatornationals.
“I am feeling good about first round. This far in the game you have to feel good. We have to see win lights if we want to end up in the winner’s circle. We are No. 3 in the points and No. 1 isn’t out of reach and that is what we are going for. We are paired up with Terry McMillen and we have made some god runs this weekend but we will need more tomorrow,” said Force who is looking for her fourth win this season.
Force’s two runs today 3.777 seconds and 3.746 seconds will give the Monster Energy team good information for race day. The runs put Force in the mix with all the Top Fuel teams going into race day with conditions looking like they will be equally as warm.
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NHRA ON TV
Sunday, Oct. 16, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET).
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JOHN FORCE, 67, Advance Auto Parts PEAK Antifreeze 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 8th at 3.873, 329.02 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +4 (3rd quickest of Q1, quickest of Q3)
First round opponent (W-L): Alexis DeJoria (16-9)
ROBERT HIGHT, 47, AAA Texas 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 1st at 3.839, 332.02 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +7 (2nd quickest of Q1, quickest of Q2, 2nd quickest of Q3)
First round opponent (W-L): Brandon Welch (1-0)
COURTNEY FORCE, 28, Traxxas 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 5th at 3.854, 321.65 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q4)
First round opponent (W-L): Cruz Pedregon (4-6)
BRITTANY FORCE, 30, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 5th at 3.727, 322.50 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
First round opponent (W-L): Terry McMillen (9-1)
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Sunday, October 16
Final eliminations 11:00 AM