Gainesville: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT READY TO TAKE BITE OUT OF GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, FL --- 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight spent the off-weekend before the 41st annual Tire Kingdom Gatornationals in Bakersfield, California at the 2010 March Meet enjoying some ...

HIGHT READY TO TAKE BITE OUT OF GATORNATIONALS

GAINESVILLE, FL --- 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight spent the off-weekend before the 41st annual Tire Kingdom Gatornationals in Bakersfield, California at the 2010 March Meet enjoying some nostalgia Funny Car racing action. The roar of the Funny Cars and front engine dragsters only revved up Hight's eagerness to get back on the track himself behind the wheel of his Auto Club Ford Mustang.

"John (Force, the 2010 March Meet Grand Marshal) and I were both talking about how strange it was to be at a race and not be racing. I am really looking forward to the Gatornationals. It is a race that has so much tradition that to get a win at Gainesville Raceway is big," said the 14-time NHRA national event winner.

Last year Hight's season long struggles started at the Gatornationals. He qualified 10th with an inconsistent race car and dropped a first round match-up to rookie Matt Hagan. Hight and crew chief Jimmy Prock righted the ship in time for the 2009 Countdown to 1 eventually winning the Full Throttle championship but Hight knows that is not the ideal way to grab the brass ring.

"Last year we were terrible most of the season. John shook up the teams in Reading and we got rolling headed into the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Then we got hot at the right time winning three of the last six races. We are not going to make the same mistake in 2010 (with an inconsistent race car). We had a good test session in Phoenix, qualified No. 1 at the Winternationals, and we went to the semi-finals in Phoenix. My Auto Club Mustang is in great shape and we are looking for a strong showing this weekend," said Hight.

Hight is enjoying being the Full Throttle champion but he is also knows that having the No. 1 on the side of his Mustang does not guarantee him any more success. The former crewman has embraced the responsibility of being a national spokesman for the sport as the reigning champion but he also does not want this to be a one year engagement. He still enjoys walking by his Auto Club Mustang and seeing the No. 1 on the side.

"Honestly it is still hard to get used to seeing. I know when I used to see the No. 1 on someone else's car I wanted to go after that guy. It is a little like putting a target on my Auto Club Ford Mustang. I knew how I felt when I was chasing the car with the no. 1 on the side and now I am that car," said Hight. "People have said it is tougher to stay on top or to repeat as champion. I know this season will be tough but I am looking forward to defending this championship and keeping this no. 1 for more than one season."

Hight has a Full Throttle Championship to go along with two wins at the stories Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Hight has raced to the last four finals at the famed track in Indianapolis. Getting a win at the Tire Kingdom Gatornationals would add another major bullet point to an already impressive racing resume.

"You look at the history of the Gatornationals. NHRA has been hosting a national event here for over forty years. Kenny Bernstein going over 300 mph for the first time here was amazing. John (Force) won here five years in a row. (Don) Garlits and (Don) Prudhomme dominated here. You want to see your name listed with those guys. The Funny Car class is so tough now you know if you win a race you have really done something special. I am looking at this weekend's race as my chance to make some Gatornationals memories of my own," said Hight.

-source: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan