Richmond: Hight - Ford interview 2008-10-15

With two races remaining in the NHRA Countdown to 1, Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, is in fifth place in the Funny Car standings, 92 points behind the leader. The series will be idle for the next two ...

With two races remaining in the NHRA Countdown to 1, Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, is in fifth place in the Funny Car standings, 92 points behind the leader. The series will be idle for the next two weekends before visiting Las Vegas starting October 30, giving Hight plenty of time to think about the work ahead.

WITH A COUPLE OF WEEKS OFF AND TWO RACES REMAINING, YOU ARE IN FIFTH PLACE IN THE STANDINGS, 92 POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD. WHAT IS DOMINATING YOUR THOUGHTS RIGHT NOW? "It's pretty obvious - honestly, we need to win both races to have any kind of shot at winning this thing. I guess you could go to the final both races, too, and still win, depending on what the other guys do. And we have no control over what they do until we race them - and we really still don't have any control. We have to do everything right and we have to make our car flawless. Before we went to Richmond we tested, and I think we made big strides in our engine combination. We went to Richmond and didn't drop cylinders like we had been having trouble with. We just actually were a little too cautious in the second round, and it shook, it was weak. And I can say we've lost the other way around, from being too aggressive. So, honestly, we've probably lost more from being aggressive than we have from being cautious, so we've got to find that in-between and still be able to win because everybody's running pretty close to each other. It's tough. We thought backing it off a little bit for Ron Capps, second round, would be perfect and it was just too weak."

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT ALL YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH, OR ROUND BY ROUND? "Round by round, but in all honesty, the ultimate thing for us would be to line up against the guys that are ahead of us early. I would like nothing more than to go to the next race and have Tim Wilkerson first round, and control our own destiny. We can't rely on the other teams to do it. Because Tim just seems like he qualifies just mediocre and he runs just good enough to win, and you've got to give him a lot of credit for that. He's done an excellent job, but he isn't overpowering everybody, it's not like he has a lot better race car. I guess he's racing smarter than we are. We not only have to dominate the next two, and the only way you do that is by overpowering everybody, but we also have to race smart. We're not giving up, that's for sure."

YOU MENTIONED THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING. JOHN FORCE RACING WAS VERY GOOD IN QUALIFYING AGAIN LAST WEEKEND AT VIRGINIA. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN RUNNING ON FRIDAY AND RUNNING ON SUNDAY? "Yes. Friday is usually the better conditions. You race, usually, the first run at 3 or 4 o'clock and the next one at 6 or 7, and the track is the coolest then, so you can get after it a little harder. And then Saturday usually is to practice for Sunday, that's more like the race conditions, in the heat, and we seem to do all right there, too. We just seem to fumble a little bit on Sunday."

WHEN YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS AS YOU ARE AND HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST, DO YOU EVER LOOK BACK AT WOULD'VE, SHOULD'VE, COULD'VE? "You can't, because you can't change anything. But, I believe it's smart not to dwell on what happened, but learn from it. That's how a successful crew chief works - he tunes the next round based on what he's learned in the past, what he knows will work. You still need to dig back in the past and see what hasn't worked or what has worked, and move forward. As far as getting emotional or being down about it, that's not productive."

CAN YOU PUT THIS SEASON INTO PERSPECTIVE? ALL FOUR DRIVERS MADE THE COUNTDOWN, WHEN COMING INTO THE SEASON THERE WAS SO MUCH UNKNOWN. DO YOU THINK THE ORGANIZATION WILL LOOK BACK ON THIS SEASON AS A VERY GOOD SEASON? "I don't think there's any doubt - you'll have to. We haven't had any injuries, and that, first and foremost, is most important, and we believe we've worked forward with Ford to build safer cars, and we'll continue doing that. But we also know that these safer cars can win. This season, by no means, has not been a success - it has been a success. Ashley getting her first win, and she's right up there in the points, too. It's a good season, but we still have some work to do."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Tim Wilkerson , Robert Hight