ROBERT HIGHT AAA TEXAS FUNNY CAR No. 1 AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX
ENNIS, TX – Robert Hight is taking a page from the playbook of his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers and just continuing to grind it out. The 37-time winner has a tough road to his second championship but performances like today will put the 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion back into the championship conversation. Hight drove his AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car to the provisional No. 1 spot tonight at the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals with a career quickest elapsed time of 3.839 seconds at 332.02 mph. The elapsed time was a track record and the third quickest run in Funny Car history.
“That was pretty impressive. Going up for that run (crew chief) Mike Neff told me he thought it could run 3.84. To me you look at that and think, ‘We have never run 3.84 so how do you go about doing that?’ How are you so confident that it is going to go up there and run 3.84 and we have never done that,” joked Hight in the Motorplex press room. “To go up there and run a little quicker at 3.83 shows he has a really good handle on this AAA Texas Camaro and I am not going to question him. It was great. We went to St. Louis and made a bunch of changes to our car and ran really well. We didn’t get the win and we had crazy conditions in Reading. To come right back here and pick up where we left off in St. Louis and running this good shows my AAA Texas team is on the right track. All we can do is go out and try and win these last three races and see what happens.”
In St. Louis Hight picked up qualifying bonus points in every session and was the No. 1 qualifier of the event. Today Hight was the second quickest Funny Car of the first session with a 3.870 second run and the quickest of the last session. In the final session Hight was beside point leader Ron Capps and the two-time Fallnationals winner was asked if there was extra motivation to be paired up with and to outrun Capps.
“It doesn’t matter if it is qualifying, testing or race day it doesn’t matter who you are racing you want to get to the finish line first. I don’t ever go up there thinking I have to do something special. They set my car up and I can only do what is within my best ability. I am not going to try anything extra special because of who is in the lane beside me,” said Hight.
Last night Hight spent some time in downtown Ennis at the Fanfest event and then the avid baseball fan watched the Los Angeles Dodgers win the elimination game over the Washington Nationals. The positive vibe and never give up attitude of Hight’s favorite team was not lost on Hight today as he looks at the next three races.
“Things are starting to turn around. My Dodgers are going on to face the Cubs to go to the World Series and the AAA Texas Camaro is running good. We got five points today on our competitors and I think that moved me around Tim Wilkerson from 8th to 7th. So far so good,” added Hight. “Some of these new parts we put on this race car are showing potential and to say you ran the third quickest run in history and we are just getting started.”
The first session was a stellar performance for the trio of John Force Racing Camaro Funny Cars. While Hight was posting the second quickest run of the opening session teammate and 16-time Funny Car champion was right behind him with a 3.873 second pass which was also a career best mark for the 146-time winner.
In the second session Force’s Advance Auto Parts PEAK Camaro launched aggressively in the tight conditions and overpowered the track. The strength of his first run kept Force in the top half of the field sitting in the No. 8 position heading into Saturday.
Courtney Force and the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car finished up the first qualifying session as the fourth quickest Funny Car and it one point they were the track record holder for elapsed time. Their run of 3.895 seconds was the first 3.8 second run in Motorplex history but was quickly surpassed by John Force, Hight, and Ron Capps. In the second session Force, the youngest daughter of the six-time Fallnationals winner, stepped up with a career quickest 3.854 second run and moved up to the provisional No. 5 spot.
The Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster ran to the provisional No. 4 spot on Friday at the Texas Motorplex. Brittany Force ran to the top of the field to open the session with her 3.727 second run but had to wait to see if her time would hold up as the top performer. At the end of the night she was shuffled back three spots but going into Saturday the three-time 2016 winner is is good position to gather critical information for Sunday success.
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NHRA ON TV
Saturday Oct. 15, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
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
Qualifying: 8th at 3.873, 329.02 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q1)
ROBERT HIGHT, 47, AAA Texas 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 1st at 3.839, 332.02 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +5 (2nd quickest of Q1, quickest of Q2)
COURTNEY FORCE, 28, Traxxas 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 5th at 3.854, 321.65 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
BRITTANY FORCE, 30, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 4th at 3.727, 322.50 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
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Saturday, October 15
3rd round of qualifying 1:30 PM
4th round of qualifying 4:30 PM
Sunday, October 16
Final eliminations 11:00 AM