Memphis: Robert Hight preview

ROBERT HIGHT WANTS TO KEEP STREAKING IN MEMPHIS MEMPHIS, TN (September 28, 2009) --- The only think hotter than the temperature at the Texas Motorplex last weekend was the performance of Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang. To say they...

ROBERT HIGHT WANTS TO KEEP STREAKING IN MEMPHIS

MEMPHIS, TN (September 28, 2009) --- The only think hotter than the temperature at the Texas Motorplex last weekend was the performance of Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang.

To say they dominated might be an understatement. They were the number one qualifier, top speed, low elapsed time and race winner in the funny car class. The last time an NHRA funny car team led all those categories Gary Scelzi accomplished the feat in Chicago in 2007. Hight last duplicated this effort his rookie year, 2005, in Denver.

On Sunday Hight dispatched four drivers, three of whom have championship aspirations of their own in 2009. Hight defeated Tim Wilkerson, Ashley Force Hood and finally Jack Beckman in the final plus a driver who logged more frequent flier miles to get to Dallas than all the qualified funny car drivers combined, Leif Helander of Sweden. It was Hight's second career win at the Texas Motorplex and the 13th of his career moving him past Texas Motorplex owner and former funny car driver Billy Meyer on the all-time funny car win list.

By winning again in 2009 Hight extended a number of career streaks. This is the fifth year in a row that Hight has multiple NHRA victories. It is the fifth year in a row that Hight has led the Funny Car points. It is the third win in a row for John Force Racing (Ashley Force Hood, Mac Tools U.S. Nationals; Hight, Carolinas Nationals and O'Reilly Fall Nationals). Hight knows that he has to keep the pedal to the metal if he wants to start a new streak with Funny Car world championships.

"It's kind of like it hasn't hit me yet. Going to the three finals in a row is tough, but we kind of had the kiss of death against us (in Dallas). We were No. 1 qualifier and usually in Funny Car No. 1 qualifier doesn't do well. To run the table here, it's just a great tribute to my team. They did such an awesome job. We have four in a row here. It is so exciting as a driver to be able to go back right out next week and maybe keep this streak going and keep what we have rolling because when you're on a hot streak, you don't want to go home and celebrate," said Hight.

"You want to get back in that race car and keep it going. We have two more weeks (in a row). First two races of the Countdown couldn't have been any better for us, [we] won them both and went from worst to first. It's very exciting for me but it's something I never thought was going to happen. I still didn't ever lose faith in my team. You dream big but this is huge."

One streak Hight would like to break is his record at Memphis Motorsports Park. In his previous four appearances Hight has advanced to the semi-final round but never beyond that point. He also has three No. 1 qualifying efforts to his credit at the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals.

"I love racing in Memphis. Sanyo, one of our big sponsors, has a great presence in Memphis and I have qualified really well there in the past. I have reached the semis the past four years and hopefully this year we can break that streak and extend our winning streak. It won't be easy there are so many good teams out there. You have to be on your game every time you go down the track. Jimmy and my guys have been awesome for the past month," said Hight.

Hight is a mere 13 points ahead of teammate Ashley Force Hood. With the new qualifying bonus point system that kind of cushion is negligible. Starting with the Countdown to 1 this season points are awarded each qualifying session to the three quickest drivers of the session. The 3-2-1 bonus points have tightened up the point standings making every run down the track a critical situation for every team.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Robert Hight