Robert Hight Looking For Repeat At Southern Nats
ATLANTA, GA (May 9, 2011) --- There is only one other track that Robert Hight has dominated as much as Atlanta Dragway in the first six years of his professional driving career. Joining the home of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals is Lucas Oil Raceway, home of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. At these two historic tracks Hight has raced his way to at least four final rounds with two wins in six appearances.
I finally got my first win in Atlanta that third year.
When Hight rolls into Atlanta Dragway this weekend he will already have two wins under his belt in 2011 and he is locked in an early season back and forth battle with teammate Mike Neff for the Full Throttle Funny Car points lead.
“My Auto Club Mustang got off to a hot start and Neff’s Castrol GTX Mustang is running great too,” said Hight, the 2009 Funny Car champion. “His car was unstoppable all day in Houston and he just had some bad luck in the final. He is pulling double duty tuning and driving. I don’t know how he does it.”
“You can’t count out John Force either. He has three No. 1 qualifiers in a row and he is one of the best on race day. It wouldn’t surprise me to see any one of us in the winner’s circle plus you have to be on the lookout for guys like (Bob) Tasca III, (Jack) Beckman, (Matt) Hagan, the Pedregons (Cruz and Tony) and Jeff Arend. This Funny Car class has never been tougher.”
Last year Hight was in the middle of his best three race stretch of his career when he recorded his second win at the Southern Nationals on the heels of his first win at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis. A few weeks later Hight won his third race in a row in Topeka, Kansas.
For Hight winning in Atlanta has a special meaning for the former crewman turned driver.
"In my rookie year I remember racing John Force in the final in Atlanta. It was the second final of my career and I had just won the Houston race,” said Hight. “I beat John in the semis at that race (Houston) so I knew he was going to ready for me. It was like a dream. There I was racing John Force. I couldn’t believe it. He got the win and then the next year I lost in the final to Tony Pedregon. I finally got my first win in Atlanta that third year. What is the saying third time is the charm?”
“Last year I was racing Ashley in the final. We all love all JFR finals,” said the 20-time NHRA Funny Car winner. “You know no matter who wins the whole JFR team will be happy. It was a great race and I got the win. I am hoping for another all JFR final in a couple of days. I just want to half of that final round.”
Ironically for all of Hight’s success on Sunday his Auto Club Ford Mustang has never been dominant during qualifying. Hight has 38 career No. 1 qualifiers but none at Atlanta Dragway.
“I am not concerned about not being No. 1 in Atlanta. I know (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) will give me a great race car and I’ll do my best on the track to make that tune-up pay off for this Auto Club team. We have a couple of milestones coming up most importantly for me is Jimmy’s 50th win as a crew chief. Not many guys have done that and I would love to put him in the 50 win club this weekend.”