Robert Hight driver of the Auto Club Funny Car and President of John Force Racing Inc. looks back at 2014 and also looks ahead to 2015. Last season Hight won a class leading five races and finished No. 5 in the NHRA Mello Yello point standings.
What was the biggest highlight for you last season?
Robert Hight: Winning five races which was the most of any Funny Car driver last year was the highlight. We had a good run at the beginning of the year and we went to a lot of finals. We went a little flat in the middle and towards the end of the season but getting those five wins was a good start. That was the first full season I have been with (crew chief) Mike Neff and I am excited about next year since we are all staying together. We’ll be looking for more wins and better results. I believe with what we have in place we can really do that.
You have been racing a Funny Car professionally for ten years now, what does that mean to you?
RH: From a guy that thought he would never get a chance to even feel what it is like to drive a Funny Car or any kind of race car to say that I am a veteran with ten years of experience is pretty cool. It is somewhat of a blur. I look back at the beginning of my career and I wonder how I got through some of those experiences. I was learning on the fly and learning things as I went at every race. When I look back at the early runs I made I just think ‘Wow! A lot has changed.’ By no means do I think I have it all figured out or do I think that I am done learning. I still have a lot to learn and I am excited about what the future has to hold. I have more responsibilities now as president of John Force Racing. We have been working hard to find new sponsors and I feel really proud when we do get a new sponsor.
As you look forward to 2015 what do you think is ahead of you as you start your second decade as a Funny Car driver?
RH: It is not getting any easier I can tell you that. You look at the competition in Funny Car today versus ten years ago when I started any given weekend anybody out here can win. It is that close. You are seeing car separated by hundredths of a second. It is insane how close the competition is. We are going to have to continue to adapt and get better.
What is going to motivate you the most going into 2015?
RH: I want to prove to these new sponsors that are coming on board that they made the right decision to join John Force Racing. I want all of us to do our job on and off the track for the sponsors. We want to win that championship. We have to keep doing our job and our job is to win races and promote to sell our sponsors’ products.
When you look at how competitive the Funny Car class is now what excites you the most about racing against these other competitors?
RH: When you win a race in this Funny Car division it means a lot. It is not easy. We won five races last year and I think that shows what kind of team we have. We can’t forget that. We are still going to be strong next year. We have the finding that we need from the Auto Club of Southern California and we have a lot to prove. We are all motivated to get after it every race.
After being with Crew Chief Mike Neff for a full season in 2014 what do you think will be the biggest positive moving into your second full season together?
RH: We have been to every race track together now and we have won a lot of races and rounds together. The next goal is to win a championship together. I have won as a driver and he has won a couple as a crew chief and now we have to put it together and win another championship together. I know I believe in him and he believes in me. We have all the pieces with sponsorship, a new manufacturer that we can’t wait to announce and a great team. Neff and I have a lot to prove. We are both fairly young in the sport and I think there will be a lot of championships for us in the future and we need to get started in 2015.