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Jul 31, 2014 - 02:59 PM
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2014 NHRA: Robert Hight Targeting Bookend Win In Seattle
Posted by: newsla on Jul 31, 2014 - 02:57 PM
2014 NHRA: Robert Hight Targeting Bookend Win In Seattle

The Auto Club Funny Car team opened the 2014 Western Swing with a dominant win in Denver two weeks ago. Last weekend Hight again had a dominant car but a surprise first round loss stopped the 44 year-old from becoming just the second driver in Funny Car history to win the historic three races in three weeks Western Swing. This weekend at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceway Hight will be looking to close out the Western Swing with his first win in Seattle.

Hight and his Auto Club team have qualified No. 1 four times but have never won in Seattle. The closest he came was a runner-up finish to teammate Eric Medlen in his rookie season (2005) and he hasn’t been to the finals since.


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“We are really running well and last weekend in Sonoma was just a disappointment. I put the first round loss behind me and I am ready to try and get that first win in Seattle. If you can’t win three in a row in the Western Swing the next best thing is two out of three. John Force Racing has a streak going right now since we have won the last three races and I want to keep that going,” said Hight, the current Mello Yello points leader.

“We are continuing to focus on consistency and getting everything ready for Indy and the Countdown. Seattle is a race where you can see really quick runs because of the conditions. I think (crew chief) Mike Neff has a really good handle on the tune-up and I am rededicating myself to bringing my “A” game to my driving,” added Hight.

The competition had never been tougher in the Funny Car class with Hight and teammate John Force locked into the Countdown as the No. 1 and No. 2 drivers in the points. There are championship caliber drivers battling for one or the final spots in the Top Ten. One of the drivers in a heated fight is fellow Ford driver and Hight Seattle nemesis Tim Wilkerson who has ousted Hight from the Northwest Nationals three of the past five years.

“Tim Wilkerson is a great driver and he does it all on his team. Mike Neff did the same thing when he was driving and tuning. It is a huge workload and I think it helps keep you focused on the tasks at hand. That is why I like still being involved with my team on working on the Auto Club Mustang. It helps me block out distractions. Tim will be tough this weekend but so will John, Courtney (Force), Cruz (Pedregon), (Ron) Capps and the rest of the Funny Car drivers,” said Hight, a 34-time NHRA national event winner.

While Hight is looking to get another win to add to his record setting season he will also set a record for leading the Mello Yello points for 13 races when he leaves Seattle. Hight has a 119 point lead over John Force and as long as the former crewman turned driver qualifies for the race he will hold onto his points lead. Hight has five wins this season, a personal best, extending a streak that started his rookie season of winning at least two wins a season since 2005.

“It is great to lead the points and win multiple races in the regular season but the last six races are the most important. I am not looking past Seattle by any stretch of the imagination. There are three things left for our team to do. We want to win the Traxxas Shootout in Indy and then win the U.S. Nationals again. Of course our goal hasn’t changed since the Winternationals; we want another Mello Yello Funny Car championship,” said Hight.

With one more win this season Hight will become just the seventh Funny Car driver and the third JFR driver to win as many as six races in a single season. The others are John Force, Tony Pedregon, Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Cruz Pedregon and Bruce Larson.

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