Memphis: Robert Hight preview

Third Countdown Race Could Be Charm For Hight MEMPHIS, TN (September 23, 2008) --- When races are decided by split second decisions or reaction times it can drive fans crazy. For the men and women inside the cockpits it is even more maddening....

Third Countdown Race Could Be Charm For Hight

MEMPHIS, TN (September 23, 2008) --- When races are decided by split second decisions or reaction times it can drive fans crazy. For the men and women inside the cockpits it is even more maddening. One driver who has suffered back to back losses where the difference between winning and losing was separated by not tenths or hundredths but thousandths of seconds is Robert "Top Gun" Hight. Last season the young driver for John Force Racing came up one round short of winning his first Funny Car POWERade World Championship so he understands the disappointment of photo finishes.

This season Hight was defeated at the first Countdown to 1 race in Charlotte by Jack Beckman when Beckman recorded an impossible to duplicate .002 reaction time in the semi-finals. Last week in Dallas Hight lost a quarter-final race by .003 of a second on the Texas Motorplex all-concrete quarter mile. In both those races Hight was the highest qualified Countdown to one racer grabbing the No. 2 spot in Charlotte and the No. 1 spot in Dallas.

This week the former world class trapshooter heads to Memphis Motorsports Park looking to get to the front of the points standings. Hight is also looking to get on the right side of some of these close races.

"We can't lose races like that. We have to get on the other side of these things. You can't even say if this works out or if that works out well we can't have that. We have to get on the other side of that. I look at it that it is not just the car but it is me too. I should have hit the gas a little quicker and we would have beaten him. Those are the ones that are tough, tough to get over and live with."

The good news about returning to Memphis is the success rate the former John Force Racing crewman has had since he got behind the wheel of the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang. This will be the fourth time Hight will be competing in the Funny Car class and on his previous three tries in Memphis he has registered the quickest elapsed time in qualifying and raced to a semi-final finish all three years.

"We have always run well there (in Memphis). I've been the No. 1 qualifier every year that I have raced there and I've gone to the semis. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) has won there. That is where (former JFR team member Gary) Densham got his first win. We'll be fine. We get Memphis and I go out and get some more No. 1 qualifiers this thing will turn around. We could have won (Dallas) and Charlotte had something gone a little different either race. I don't want to keep saying that for any more races in the Countdown," said Hight.

The entire John Force Racing team will have new success now that team leader John Force is running better. Hight will especially enjoy seeing Force and the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang making passes down the track. He knows that now that their fuel coupes are more similarly aligned on the tuning front there will be more information to evaluate after each run.

"Having John running well is big. It is big for us too. We have been saying it for a while with him running good and running our combination. When he goes out and makes a run we'll know how the track is and we'll know what we need to do and vice versa. It is all good," said Hight.

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Jack Beckman , Robert Hight