Brainerd: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT DONE TESTING, RELAXED AND FOCUSED FOR BRAINERD BRAINERD, MN (August 11, 2009) --- Robert Hight took advantage of the break following the Western Swing by using his last available NHRA test day in a marathon session at O'Reilly Raceway Park...

HIGHT DONE TESTING, RELAXED AND FOCUSED FOR BRAINERD

BRAINERD, MN (August 11, 2009) --- Robert Hight took advantage of the break following the Western Swing by using his last available NHRA test day in a marathon session at O'Reilly Raceway Park outside Indianapolis, Monday prior to the 28th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. His Auto Club Ford Mustang team has been making up ground slowly as it inches towards the Top Ten but the two time championship runner-up knows that the next three races will make or break his chances of competing for his first Full Throttle title.

"We made five runs and I think (Monday) was definitely the most successful test session we have had in a long time. I am excited. To my way of thinking it could not have come at a better time for a turnaround for my Mustang. These next three races are like a championship countdown in itself. Instead of three guys trying to win a championship it is three guys trying to get into the Countdown," said a confident Hight. "They are all good cars. I know in my heart my team has what it takes if we do everything right to get ourselves in that position. Once the Countdown starts all bets are off. Anyone can win then as long as you are in the Top Ten but you have to be in there."

Hight knew that the time to figure out his somewhat inconsistent Auto Club Mustang was now rather than waiting to the traditional test session before the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

"Waiting to use my last test session before the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals wasn't an option for us because what if we messed up in Brainerd or Reading well then what good is that test session other than trying to win the U.S. Nationals and defend our championship there," said the two-time winner and three time finalist. "We want to definitely (win the U.S. Nationals again) but our main focus right now is to get our AAA Ford Mustang in the Countdown. The track was in good shape and the conditions worked decent for us. We used our last testing day to go out there and try and get this Mustang to where it can win in the next three races and put ourselves into position to contend for the Full Throttle championship."

For the past four years the Auto Club team has made it beyond the first round at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals only one time. Hight raced to a semi-final finish in 2007 where he lost to eventual winner and boss John Force. The last two years Hight has had his best qualifying effort at Brainerd International Raceway starting Sunday's eliminations from the No. 3 position. Last year he dropped a heart breaker to Melanie Troxel in the first round.

"Sometime people have luck at races for whatever reason. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) has won in Brainerd before with Gary Densham. It all boils down to doing everything right no matter what race track you are at. If you do that you put yourself in position to win. We definitely need to go rounds. Winning would be nice and that is what we are going for," said Hight. "What we need is round wins and my prediction is between myself, (Matt) Hagan or Cruz (Pedregon) if you have semi-final finishes in the next three races whichever one does that will be in the Countdown."

Hight is currently in 12th place in the Full Throttle point standings. Rookie Matt Hagan is nine points in front of him in 11th place and 2008 Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon is fifteen points ahead in 10th place. Teammates Mike Neff and John Force are holding down 9th and 8th place 42 and 74 points ahead of Hight respectively. Neither one of those drivers is secure in their position either.

"I feel that if I can get on a roll and win a couple of these races I can get this Auto Club Ford Mustang as high and 7th place going into the Countdown. We want all our John Force Racing Mustangs to have a shot so we will all be focused on going as many rounds as possible. Once I get into the Countdown I know I have just as good a shot as anybody else of winning the Full Throttle championship," concluded Hight.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Mike Neff