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Feb 19, 2014 - 06:10 AM
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2014 NHRA: Unfinished Business Has Hight Ready For Race In Phoenix
Posted by: newsla on Feb 19, 2014 - 06:10 AM
2014 NHRA: Unfinished Business Has Hight Ready For Race In Phoenix

At the seasoning opening race in Pomona, California Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team achieved some personal milestones but the performance success was tempered by a second round loss to eventual runner-up Matt Hagan. Hight qualifier No. 2 with a career best 3.996 second pass and he lowered his career best number in the first round running 3.986 seconds in a win over Tim Wilkerson.


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“I feel like I got a monkey off my back. We made that three second run on Friday and I knew it would be easier to run in the threes again. The first round against Wilkerson we were first pair and we ran event quicker. In the second round we lost a close race to Hagan so I have a lot of confidence in (crew chief) Mike Neff and this Auto Club team,” said Hight, who is currently 5th in the Mello Yello points standings.

Returning to the newly renamed and remodeled Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Feb. 21-23, Hight will try and pick up his second win at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. In 2012 Hight beat teammate Mike Neff in the final and then went on to win the next three races in a row.

“I remember 2012 because we were No.1 qualifier in Pomona and lost in the first round. We came to Phoenix ready to prove that first round loss was a fluke and we won. We got on a roll and won four in a row. I would like to get that magic again and I think we have the Mustang to do that,” said Hight.

If Hight is going to get on a roll he is going to have to do it against some of the toughest Funny Car drivers. It has become cliché to talk about the competitiveness of the NHRA Funny Car category every season but with more and more cars making three second passes and more high quality teams looking for wins the competition starts with the first qualifying pass of each national event.

“The first run on Friday is critical now. If you stumble coming out of the trailer then you are just playing catch up all weekend. My team is one of the best at being prepared as soon as the car rolls off the hauler. All the JFR teams are more focused because this is a critical time for our team. We are looking for sponsors and the best way to find money is to go rounds and win races,” said Hight, a 29-time NHRA national event winner.

There have been a lot of improvements to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park including a repaved race track and new grandstands. Every team will be gathering new data with every pass down the track. For John Force Racing the data collection will happen three times faster than some teams as the Auto Club Mustang works together with the Castrol GTX High Mileage team and the Traxxas team in qualifying.

“John has assembled a great brain-trust and he has gotten comfortable with Jimmy Prock as his crew chief. I am working really well with Neff and Jon Schaffer. The Traxxas team with Ron Douglas and Dan Hood has always been tough. We will have a lot of info and with the help of (track specialist) Lanny Miglizzi I feel confident we will have a handle on this track quickly and get to the top of the qualifying ladder,” said Hight.

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