Baytown: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT LOOKING TO RELIVE ROOKIE MOMENT IN HOUSTON Baytown, TX (March 25, 2009) --- Robert "Top Gun" Hight is frustrated. He knows he has one of the best cars, best teams, and best organizations in the National Hot Rod Association. He knows they...

HIGHT LOOKING TO RELIVE ROOKIE MOMENT IN HOUSTON

Baytown, TX (March 25, 2009) --- Robert "Top Gun" Hight is frustrated. He knows he has one of the best cars, best teams, and best organizations in the National Hot Rod Association. He knows they have all the pieces. They have seen flashes already this season but they haven't been able to get the pieces to fit together yet.

Heading into the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals Hight is looking to reach back into the past and relive some of his rookie year magic. It was at the Houston Raceway Park in 2005 that the young rookie impressed the NHRA universe by picking up his first career win in only his fourth start as a full-time driver.

He qualified number one at that event and plowed through four rounds of racing on Sunday trailering Bob Gilberton, Tommy Johnson Jr., John Force and Cruz Pedregon in the final. The past three years at Houston Raceway Park have been less than forgettable. In 2006 he was the number two qualifier but lost in the first round to Bob Gilbertson. The next two year Hight didn't make a pass on Sunday. In 2007 the entire John Force Racing operation skipped the Houston event following the tragic death of teammate Eric Medlen. Last year, Hight and crew chief Jimmy Prock could never get a handle on the tricky track conditions and he suffered his only DNQ of 2008.

This season Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team have gotten off to a slower than usual start. They qualified number one at the rain impaired Winternationals in Pomona and reached the semis before losing to eventual winner Ron Capps. In Phoenix Hight qualified in the top half of the field (No. 5) but lost in the second round to Del Worsham. Two weeks ago Hight qualified No. 10 and made an early first round exit losing to rookie of the year front-runner Matt Hagan.

Hight knows success is right around the corner and it all comes back to the basics no matter what is going on with his Auto Club Ford Mustang, the track, or the weather.

"If the race track is good it doesn't matter where you are at. Honestly it doesn't matter where you are at anyway. You simply have to be better than the other guys. That is all it amounts to. If the track is underwater and you have to run on it you still have to do it better than the other guy," said Hight.

Following his early exit at Gainesville Hight chronicled the team's struggles but also related that he knew they would rebound.

"We just have to do a better job than we are doing. I honestly feel lucky to have qualified (in Gainesville). We really didn't fix anything from the first run (when it blew up supercharger). We still have to fix that problem. We'll keep working hard. Next up is Houston where I won my first event and we'll try to do it again," said a hopeful Hight.

Robert Hight has never started a season without winning at least one of the first five events. In the previous three years he picked up two wins in the season opening race in Pomona (2006 and 2008) and then in Las Vegas (2007). For one of the hottest drivers on the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series a win in Houston would do a lot to ramp up his chances for his first Full Throttle Funny Car World Championship.

"I firmly believe that if you can reach at least the semi-finals at every race you will win the championship. I want to win races though. We have a team capable of doing that. We just need to keep working hard and smart then things will start happening for us. Hopefully, that will happen in Houston," said Hight.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Tommy Johnson Jr.