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Jul 23, 2014 - 04:47 PM
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2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Pre-Race Releases And Stats Sonoma Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Jul 23, 2014 - 04:45 PM
2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Pre-Race Releases And Stats Sonoma Nationals

Before Robert Hight was a five-time winner in 2014 and the 2009 Funny Car champion on the NHRA Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series tour, before he was the go-to clutch man for 16-time Funny Car champion John Force he was simply a fan watching the Sonoma NHRA Nationals from the ropes like tens of thousands of fans will do this weekend. Hight has witnessed every running of the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals from just about every perspective.


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“This is my favorite time of the year. I am a West Coast guy. Sonoma is where I first saw fuel cars run at a national event. I have been to every single NHRA national event they have had either as a fan, a crew guy or a driver. I’ve won here so that makes it special. I’d like to win that race again and get second third of the Western Swing,” said an excited Hight moments after winning the Mile-High Nationals.
The Auto Club Ford Mustang team has been on a little bit of a roller coaster ride this season with an optimistic Hight looking to start another upward trend. The team raced to six consecutive final rounds with four wins before not advancing beyond the semi-finals at the next six races. The struggles didn’t get Hight down but they were definitely beginning to creep into his consciousness.

“In 2012 we won four races in a row and then it took another year to get a win. Stuff like that was crossing my mind. If you look around it is not that easy to win out here. There are a lot of good Funny Cars in this class,” said Hight, a 34-time winner.

Hight will start his run at a second Sonoma Nationals title by meeting with the media on Wednesday in San Francisco and then he will spend some time with family in friends leading up to the race. During the race Hight and the rest of the John Force Racing team will have a number of friends and family in attendance. Late teammate Eric Medlen was from Oakdale, California and won his last professional race at the 2006 Sonoma Nationals.

“You are always reminded of Eric Medlen. A lot of his family from Oakdale, California will be at the races and I will have a lot of friends and family there as well. If you can put away some of the distractions and win the race it is awesome to celebrate with all your family and friends you grew up with,” said Hight.

It has been twenty years since John Force became the only Funny Car driver to win the Western Swing. Since that time only three Funny Car drivers including Force have even won three races in a row at any point in a season. Hight is in that group along with former teammate Tony Pedregon. Back to back races do not intimidate Hight but rather invigorate him.

“No one was won the Western Swing since John Force and it would be an honor to be the second Funny Car team to do it. I believe we have the team to win three in a row. I know we have four races in a row earlier in the season but this Western Swing is more grueling on the teams because of the distances we are travelling,” added Hight. “You start out in Denver where you change everything on the race car. You have to go up there and make horsepower in the thin air. Now you go to Sonoma and Friday night there is a good chance you will see three second runs because it cools off so quick there. It is a brand new ballgame.”

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