JFR’s Robert Hight is set to defend Funny Car title

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Robert Hight has just one thing in mind for the U.S. Nationals this weekend - winning.

Robert Hight is a member of John Force Racing (JFR), and he will be looking to extend the team’s sensational streak in the Funny Car category at the U.S. Nationals. In fact, JFR has won the last six U.S. Nationals for Funny Car.

The JFR dynamic

“We rise to the occasion, we work hard, and we work together as a team. We all share info and data, and it’s about getting one of these cars in the winner’s circle and getting the job done, and we’ve been able to do that,” said the three-time U.S. National Funny Car Champion. “And to be able to do it on the biggest stage in drag racing shows we can dig down deep. It also shows how bad we want to win on a big stage like that.”

That was a big and my team performed flawlessly

Robert Hight on 2013 U.S. Nationals

In 2013, Hight needed to get past the first round of the U.S. Nationals to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship. Hight, who is also the President of John Force Racing, said, “That was a big, big round, and my team, my crew chief (Mike Neff), and myself, we performed flawlessly.” The Auto Club of Southern California dragster went on to win the U.S. Nationals for the third time, and will be looking for the same result this year to cap off an exceptional regular season.

Hight has five wins this season, and is second in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car point standings to teammate John Force. The points are reset after the U.S. Nationals, and the leader is given a distinct 30-point advantage for the six-race playoff to determine the World Champion. “That’s another thing that is going to make Indy very important for John and I this year. Whoever can get out of there ahead of the other, that’s a 30-point lead you have on the rest of the field going into the Countdown.”

When the pressure's on

With so much at stake at the U.S. Nationals, it’s a good thing Hight has many pressure packed experiences to draw upon. In his second year of Funny Car racing, he found himself in the finals of the 2006 U.S. Nationals, and he experienced a case of the nerves. “I remember backing up from the burnout, and you are holding the clutch pedal in, and my knees are shaking, my leg is shaking. And yes, it takes some force to hold the clutch pedal down on one of these cars, but I never had my leg shake before, and it was just from nerves.”

To this day, I still never backed up from the burnout and had my leg shake

Robert Hight

After gathering himself, Robert got the job done. He said, “To this day, I still never backed up from the burnout and had my leg shake, that shows you how bad you want to win that race, how big it is, and how much it means.”

The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the biggest drag race in the world, and the NHRA will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Big Go this year. Legends such as Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Shirley Muldowney, and Don Garlits will be in attendance.

The racers are fighting to put their names next to the legends, hopefully more than once. Hight said, “In fact, the day after I won in ’06 on Tuesday morning, Don Garlits was in the hotel and he came up and congratulated me, and said, ‘Good job, well now you can retire, you’ve won Indy.’ And I looked at him and I said, ‘No sir, I’m going to win Indy a few more times, I don’t want to retire yet.’”

Hight has won Indy two more times, and will have an excellent opportunity to defend his 2013 title on Monday.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Event Indianapolis
Track O'Reilly Raceway Park
Drivers Robert Hight
Article type Interview