‘Run of the year’ puts Auto Club's Robert Hight No. 2 at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 17) – Robert Hight turned in what he called the run of the year Saturday in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS, and will start No. 2 for Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Hight’s run in the third session, and first of two passes Saturday, was 4.023 seconds at 311.77 mph, in ambient temperatures in the mid-80s and on a track exceeding 130 degrees. While none of the drivers in the Funny Car field challenged Friday night’s qualification runs, Hight said it was the “run of the year” because of the weather and track conditions.
“I have a lot of confidence in that run going into race day,” said Hight, who was quickest of the session and earned three bonus points for his efforts. “Those conditions are what we’re going to see tomorrow, and that was a flawless run. It was done in the left lane, too, which is not the lane of choice.”
Hight said he went for the top spot in the final session, as inclement weather forced the session to be delayed by more than two hours, which was held in cooler conditions. But the result was didn’t pan out; Hight smoked the tires and finished the run in just over six. He’ll stand on the second-round pass, which was 3.918 seconds at 324.28 mph.
“It was basically a night session, and we went for it,” Hight said. “But we’ll looking forward to tomorrow. We do that four times, I like my chances.”
Hight will face No. 15 Jeff Diehl in the opening-round of Sunday’s race. Diehl’s best pass was 7.634 seconds at 89.65 mph. Hight is shooting for a second Bristol victory, following his Father’s Day win at the track in 2011.
Qualifying Round 1 (Right Lane): 5.928 seconds/116.83 mph; overpowers it around the 300-foot mark (No. 11 of session and No. 11 overall; no bonus points)
Qualifying Round 2 (Left Lane): 3.918 seconds/324.28 mph; straight down the track and into the top spot (No. 2 of session and No. 2 overall; two bonus points in session and two bonus points overall)
Qualifying Round 3 (Left Lane): 4.023 seconds/311.77 mph; hot run in hot conditions for best run of session (No. 1 of session and No. 2 overall; three bonus points in session and five bonus points overall)
Qualifying Round 4 (Right Lane): 6.558 seconds/97.19 mph; smoked tires around the 300-foot mark (No. 13 of session and No. 2 overall; no bonus points in session and five bonus points overall)
This is the fourth time this season and 37th time in his career Hight has qualified No. 2. He also qualified No. 2 at the most recent round at Englishtown.
This is the second time Hight has qualified No. 2 at Bristol; he was also No. 2 at the track in 2005.
Hight’s matchup against Jeff Diehl marks the eighth time the two will compete against each other, with the last meeting coming last year at Sonoma Raceway. Hight holds a 6-1 advantage in the previous seven meetings, including a victory last year at Bristol. All seven prior meetings have come in the first round.