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Jul 16, 2014 - 06:20 AM
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2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Denver Pre-Race Releases
Posted by: newsla on Jul 16, 2014 - 06:19 AM
2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Denver Pre-Race Releases

A year ago the rumbling fans heard on the mountain was not thunder but the swapping of crews and crew chiefs in the John Force Racing camp. In a dramatic move John Force swapped teams with teammate Robert Hight in a bid to create long term stability and make a run at an unprecedented 18th team NHRA Funny Car championship. The move worked and in the 23 races since the swap John Force Racing has won twelve times with Hight picking up six of those wins.


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"We were all on board with the team swap because John had a plan. It worked out great for John Force Racing. Mike Neff and I went on to win the U.S. Nationals, John got the Mello Yello championship, and we are in the points lead," said Hight, a four-time winner in 2014.

The Auto Club Funny Car team raced to the winner’s circle in Hight’s rookie season of 2005 and with that win Hight took the points lead that season. He has become accustomed to leading the Funny Car points. Hight has led the points at least once every year of his career except 2013. This season Hight has been in the points lead for ten consecutive events and his personal best streak is 12 events, which should be broken at the end of the Western Swing when you consider he has a 178 point lead over second place.

"The points lead is great but we all know a big points lead won’t help you going into the Countdown. You want to be No. 1 because you get a little bit of a lead but you are going to need to perform in the Countdown starting in Charlotte. The focus right now is the Western Swing and the Mopar Mile-High Nationals this weekend," said Hight.

"When you get on the mountain the air changes so you have to have a special set-up. I have a lot of confidence in Mike Neff and my team. I won here twice with Jimmy Prock and he has always run well up here. Neff won Denver in 2006 with Gary Scelzi. We will get our information together and throw everything we can at Bandimere Speedway," said Hight.

Robert Hight remains the track record holder at the quarter mile distance as the only driver to break 4.80 seconds at altitude an amazing 4.796 seconds, 322.58 mph run on July 15, 2005. Only one Funny Car driver has swept the Western Swing, John Force in 1994. The fact that no other driver has matched that achievement in 20 years is not lost of Hight.

"So many things have to go right to win one Funny Car title now getting three in a row is a real achievement. You add into the mix that the Western Swing has one race on a mountain and that just makes it even tougher. Only a couple of guys have even won three races in a row in the past twenty years," said Hight.

The competitiveness of the Funny Car class in recent years has proven that winning three races in a row during any stretch of the season is a tremendous achievement. Hight has mastered that task three times since 2010. Since John Force swept the Western Swing in 1994 only two other drivers have won three races in a row at any point of an NHRA season. Then JFR driver Tony Pedregon won three in a row in 2002 (Reading, Memphis and Chicago) and Hight has accomplished streaks of at least three wins in a row three times (2010, 2012 and 2014). In addition to Force’s Western Swing efforts since 1994 he has won at least three races in a row on eleven occasions.

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