Denver: Robert Hight preview

PEFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT HAS HIGHT FOCUSED ON DENVER WINNER'S CIRCLE MORRISON, CO (July 1, 2009) --- It seems to happen to a racer at least once a race. You watch pair after pair of race cars in front of you tire smoke, spin or just simply make...

PEFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT HAS HIGHT FOCUSED ON DENVER WINNER'S CIRCLE

MORRISON, CO (July 1, 2009) --- It seems to happen to a racer at least once a race. You watch pair after pair of race cars in front of you tire smoke, spin or just simply make less than stellar runs but still get a win light while you make a great lap only to lose because your opponent was just a little quicker.

That scenario played out in Norwalk during the Summit Equipment NHRA Nationals for Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team. The No. 2 qualifier raced into the second round only to find himself racing the winningest drag racer of all time John Force. In their race Hight made a solid 4.32 second pass which would have won any of the other three 2nd round races. Unfortunately Force laid down an impressive 4.30 second lap to defeat Hight.

"We were just racing the wrong guy. My car dropped a cylinder. A ring broke and then it closed the gap on two plugs and that caused the cylinder to drop. I like knowing what the problem was. We can fix that. It wasn't our tune up," said Hight. "You see everybody smoking the tires out there. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) thinks it would have run a little better if it hadn't have dropped that cylinder. I could have beat John or I would have been right with him."

Going a couple of rounds along with some stumbles by the drivers in front of Hight in points allowed the two-time championship runner-up to close the gap on entering the Countdown to One Top Ten.

"We moved up a little. We are three rounds -- 55 points - back now. We went down the track five out of six runs. We were real respectable," added Hight.

Heading into the 30th annual MOPAR Mile High NHRA Nationals Hight knows that performance number will drop but the key will be adapting to the conditions.

"We are in a really good spot. Jimmy has a car that is tuneable. The key for us is to get a good solid run in that first session so we can run later in that second session. It worked that way for us in Norwalk. I miss not being able to walk the track before we run. I told Jimmy that. We were running so early in the sessions I didn't have time to check out the track and clear my head. It was great in Norwalk to be at the back in qualifying with (teammate Mike) Neff. We are both fighting to move up in the points," said Hight.

Denver has been a track that Hight has had considerable success at when you consider he won the Mile High Nationals his rookie season. He has been No. 1 qualifier twice at Bandimere Speedway and he is the track record holder in ET and speed. Last year he advanced to the semi-finals before he was defeated by a red-hot Tim Wilkerson. Hight is looking at this positive success as well as the fact that his Mustang has come around the past three races to bode well for his team as they try to break into the Top Ten to kick off the Western Swing.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Robert Hight