Gainesville: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT CHASING TOP SPOT HEADING INTO GAINESVILLE Gainesville, FL (March 9, 2009) --- Robert Hight is currently sitting in second place in the Full Throttle point standings heading into Gainesville for the 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals...

HIGHT CHASING TOP SPOT HEADING INTO GAINESVILLE

Gainesville, FL (March 9, 2009) --- Robert Hight is currently sitting in second place in the Full Throttle point standings heading into Gainesville for the 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals and the perennial championship contender wants a better view. For the past two seasons Hight has entered the "Gators" sitting in the top spot coming off final round appearances in the season opening events.

Hight opened the 2009 Full Throttle season with a No. 1 qualifying effort in a rain shortened Winternationals in Pomona but did not advance to the finals for the first time in three years. In Phoenix he dropped a second round match-up to friend and competitor Del Worsham. Still Hight is in second place (tied with Worsham) but the former world-class trap shooter is focused on improving his team's performance

"My team is focused right now on just getting our Auto Club Ford Mustang to run like we know it can. We just have to get out there and make runs and do it. We'll work together as a team. That will pay off in the end," said Hight. "We maintained every crew guy from last year and that makes all the difference. Because we're the same team we focus on fine-tuning, as opposed to changing, what was already a darn good car from last year. Most of my guys understand all aspects of the car, and they work well together to help each other out when needed. Having multi talented guys really make servicing the car between rounds easier, even more impressive and crucial is that they do it without making mistakes."

Hight has talked in the past about the significance of getting a win at historic Gainesville Raceway but for 2009 he is taking a more pragmatic approach.

"Going to Gainesville is the same for everybody. You have to make your move some time. It is the same for everyone. You just have to do better than the rest of them. I think I have the team that can do that," said Hight.

The lull between events has both sharpened Hight's eagerness to get to a race track and offered his team the chance to spend some much needed time in the shop.

"We had two weeks off so we just kept learning. We weren't able to test but we ran the dyno in Indy. We spent the past two weeks trying to figure out a better clutch application for leaving the starting line," said an excited Hight. "I got a small fix of racing when I went to the March Meet the weekend of March 7th on behalf of the Auto Club of Southern California. This is my third time attending for the Auto Club and it is always exciting. It got me back to a race again which is what I needed. I see all those nostalgia funny cars and I'd love to jump in one someday. It is fun to attend but at the same time it is hard to just sit and watch."

Hight thinks heading into this year's Gatornationals the entire John Force Racing team is on the same page like never before. Teamwork has never been in short supply at JFR but following an emotional weekend in Phoenix where everyone throughout the organization had to step up the camaraderie factor in their camp is at an all time high.

"When I look back at Phoenix for sure it was a special weekend. Ever since Mike Neff came over my crew chief Jimmy Prock has been calling him a smart cookie. I think that Neff really proved his worth in Phoenix, being able to tune and drive, and more importantly win rounds really showed me something. But he'd be the first to tell you that it was a team effort, amongst all the crew chiefs and teams. That's what sets us apart, at the end of the day we all win together, or we all lose together...but regardless we do it as a team."

In the absence of John Medlen, who is recovering at home in Indianapolis from a short hospital stay to treat some heart discomfort, the John Force Racing team led by Hight will be racing with a common goal. It is one that Hight is eager to experience again but for the first time in Gainesville.

"I think we have a strong car coming out of Phoenix and should turn some heads at Gainesville," concluded Hight.

-credit: jfr

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