This Week in Ford Racing - April 6, 2011
Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car, won the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals this past weekend, the third of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Series and his second win of the year. Hight also won the season-opener in Pomona, Calif. With this win, John Force Racing is now just one victory away from the 200th mark. It was the team’s 134th win for Ford.
THIS IS THE THIRD STRAIGHT WIN TO START OUT THE SEASON FOR JOHN FORCE RACING. THERE’S GOT TO BE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE DOWN IN THAT PIT RIGHT NOW. “I don’t know about confidence. It’s not getting any easier. It’s just a lot of hard work. That’s really what’s doing it, and what’s paying off, because you let your guard down just one little bit and you’re gonna get beat. I had close, side-by-side races every round. Johnny Gray stepped up in the final, made his best run of the weekend against us. If you look at it on paper, you’d say ‘back it off a little, be safe, go down the track and get the win.’ We’d have not been up here right now. There are no easy ones. Jim Head, first round, he was right there, side-by-side. That even makes it feel better, though. When you can get a win like this, and it’s the third of the year for us. You can’t forget, John Force finished last year with two wins. That’s five wins in a row. In this day and age, in this competition, it’s awesome. I’ll show you how tough Funny Car is. This is the 12th year; there have been 11 different winners. Me, I’m one of them, and to finally get the second, that shows how tough it is to get one of these wins in a Funny Car. It’s awesome. We’ve got to keep it going, though. We go to four-wide next week [in Charlotte]. Elon [Werner, John Force Racing PR] was just telling me a minute ago this is the 199th win for John Force Racing. There’s nothing better than getting 200 in Charlotte. It’s another Bruton Smith track. We love their facilities. They’re top-notch. They’re the best. It’s just awesome. NHRA did such a great job with the track this weekend, to get this live [broadcast of eliminations on ESPN2] TV deal off. My crew guys, every round, were paying attention to the other cars starting in the pits. They prided themselves on being the first nitro car to start every round, because we were under the gun, and then to get to the staging lanes - the first nitro car to get to the staging lanes. Good job to the Auto Club team, and hopefully we can keep it up. I’ve still got my lucky coin from the Wood Brothers. It was their 60th anniversary last year, they gave it to me, and it’s the 60th anniversary of NHRA. I think it’s a little good luck here.”
That’s really what it’s about; priding yourself on beating the rest of these guys, whether it’s in the pits or on the race track.
IS THERE A PSYCOLOGICAL ADVANTAGE WHEN YOU’RE THE FIRST CAR TO WARM UP IN THE PITS; YOU’RE THE FIRST CAR IN LINE? “I think it just pumps everybody up and gets them going. This whole sport is about adrenaline. That’s why Full Throttle is such a perfect sponsor. When my team’s up, I’m up, and it’s just a great atmosphere. That’s really what it’s about; priding yourself on beating the rest of these guys, whether it’s in the pits or on the race track.”
DOES IT HELP YOU A LITTLE BIT, HAVING THOSE FEW EXTRA MINUTES TO RELAX AND GET FOCUSED ON DRIVING THE CAR? “No doubt about it. You always need extra time. That’s what’s cool. Once we start it up and we have a little time to sit around, they’re not sitting around. They’re double-checking everything, because like Antron [Brown, who won the event in Top Fuel] said earlier, you can’t have these cars too perfect. We have to give ourselves time to double-check and if you have any little issues, there’re a lot of things that could go wrong with one of these cars. So giving yourself a little extra time definitely doesn’t hurt.”
-source: ford racing