AAA Texas' Robert Hight ready to continue battle for 2017 title
DALLAS (Oct. 11) – AAA Texas driver Robert Hight takes the battle for the 2017 NHRA Funny Car championship to the AAA Texas FallNationals this weekend at Texas Motorplex.
Hight has won three races this season, including the opener to the Countdown to the Championship opener in Charlotte. He sits second in the Funny Car standings, just 46 points out of the lead, with three races remaining in the season.
“It’s race No. 4 on the Countdown,” Hight said. “We’re still within striking distance of the points lead, and we need to get in there and win this race and get this points lead back.”
This race is a special one for Hight, and not simple because he’s a two-time winner in Dallas. Hight has a long relationship with AAA and the Auto Club of Southern California, dating back to his rookie season of 2005.
“I like all these AAA races,” Hight said. “I’m thankful that AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California sponsor half the races in the Countdown. It keeps me busy, and it shows that they believe in NHRA drag racing. We want to go in there and do a good job for them. We’d love to get a win.
“We’re excited about going to their headquarters and meeting all the employees on Thursday before the race starts. Hopefully, some of those employees can come out to the race and join us. Maybe we can get them in the winner’s circle. That’s the goal.”
Hight and all the John Force Racing drivers will tour AAA Texas headquarters in Coppell, Texas, on Thursday before racing begins Friday.
Once at the track, Hight and all the racers will be treated well, as owner Billy Meyer is a past racer himself.
“I love going to Dallas,” Hight said “It’s the first quarter-mile, all-concrete race track in the world. What makes Dallas a little different is Billy Meyer, the owner, is not just an owner – he’s a former race car driver, he’s a racer. He knows what we need as racers and what the fans want to see. He always puts on a great show at a great facility.”
Two qualifying sessions are slated for Friday (3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Central) and Saturday (2 p.m. and 5 p.m.), with eliminations slated for 11 a.m. Central on Sunday.
Fox Sports 1 will televise one hour of live qualifying on Friday at 5 p.m. Central, one hour of coverage at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and three hours of live qualifying at 1 p.m. Central on Sunday.
• Robert Hight has competed in 12 races at Texas Motorplex and has qualified for every race since 2008. His first race at the track came his rookie season, in 2005.
• Hight has two victories at Texas Motorplex – in 2006 and 2009. Both victories came from the No. 1 qualifying position.
• Hight is 15-9 all-time in 24 elimination rounds at Texas Motorplex.
• Overall, Hight has five No. 1 qualifying efforts at Texas Motorplex, tied for the second most of any track at which he has competed (has seven at Las Vegas, and also five at Seattle). His No. 1 qualifying effort last season of 3.839 seconds (332.02 mph) is a track record for elapsed time, and was his career-best coming into this season.
• Overall, Hight is 7-4 in 11 first-round elimination matchups at Texas Motorplex. He has won each of his last four first-round matchups at the track.
• Hight’s 40 victories are the fourth most in Funny Car history, behind John Force (148); Ron Capps (58); and Tony Pedregon (43). He is tied with pro stock driver Kurt Johnson and former pro stock driver Mike Edwards for 20th on the all-time professional victories list.
• Hight recorded his 400th elimination-round win Aug. 20 at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. His 409 round wins are 23rd all-time in NHRA’s professional categories and sixth all-time in Funny Car. He is 11 round wins behind Jim Yates (pro stock) for 22nd all-time.
• Hight has been the No. 1 qualifier seven times this season, and six times in the last nine races. His 56 No. 1s are third most in Funny Car history – only John Force (155) and Cruz Pedregon (61) have more in the category. He is tied for ninth all-time across all professional categories with Joe Amato and Mike Edwards.
• In 2017, Hight has three victories, a 36-18 record in elimination rounds, and seven No. 1 qualifiers. He holds a season-best 38 elimination-round wins in a season, in 2014. He has surpassed 30 elimination-round wins in a season eight times in 12 seasons.
• Hight has set the fastest event speed a career-best 12 times this season, which exceeds his previous season-best of seven set in his rookie season, 2005. He now has 53 fastest event speeds in his career, the 50th coming in July at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, where he set the NHRA record at 339.87 mph.
• Hight now holds nine track records for elapsed time (eight of which have been set this season) and 11 track records for speed (all of which have been set this season).
• Hight has five final rounds this season and 62 in his career.
• Hight has competed in 163 consecutive races, tied for 17th all-time with Doug Kalitta, dating back to the second race at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., in 2010. It is also tied for the eighth longest active streak, also with Kalitta.
• Most recent NHRA victory – 2017 NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C.
• Most recent No. 1 qualifier – 2017 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in Madison, Ill.
• Best time/speed at Dallas – 3.839 seconds (2016 Q2); 332.02 mph (2016 Q2)
• Best time/speed of career – 3.793 seconds (2017 Brainerd Q2; quickest elapsed time in Funny Car history); 339.87 mph (2017 Sonoma Q2; fastest speed in NHRA history)