Robert Hight - Ford interview 2009-08-05

This Week in Ford Racing: Robert Hight Auguest 5, 2009 Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car, is in 12th place in the NHRA point standings. With only three races left before the Countdown begins, there are only 15 points...

This Week in Ford Racing: Robert Hight
Auguest 5, 2009

Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car, is in 12th place in the NHRA point standings. With only three races left before the Countdown begins, there are only 15 points separating Hight from making that crucial Top 10.

YOU HAVE BEEN IN 12TH PLACE NOW FOR NINE RACES. DURING THE WEST COAST SWING, YOU SEEMED TO MAKE SOME PROGRESS ON YOUR CAR. HAVE YOU FINALLY FOUND WHAT YOU'VE BEEN MISSING THIS SEASON IN TIME TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS? "I think so; it's definitely starting to show a little promise. What we are lacking is consistency, and that's why we are in the shoes we are in. We probably changed way too much stuff over the winter; normally, our teams go out and test a lot, so that's hurt us. The best car we've got on our team is Ashley. Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas did a great job in not changing anything on that car. They haven't even used up a test session, and I know Tony (Pedregon) and Cruz (Pedregon) haven't been testing. Tony's probably got the best car out there, so it's obvious that they probably didn't change a lot either at the beginning of the year. You look at the cars contending, and there's more than 10 good cars out there. My fear is kind of with me right now, because nobody believes that it's a guarantee to get in the Top-10. That's where we are at right now. We are chasing a car that won the world championship last year, he's a great driver. We're also chasing Matt Hagan, who I hope gets the Rookie of the Year, because he's one of us, he's a Funny Car guy. It's going to be exciting the last three races, that's for sure, and just hope that we have what it takes to get this Auto Club Ford where it needs to be."

can you talk a little about what happened in round three at Infineon? and, also what you said about making a lot of changes, are you kind of going back and trying to put things back the way they were? "At Chicago, we started backtracking and putting this car back like it was last year. Since then, it's shown some promise. I definitely messed up at Infineon in the semis against Tony. You know, he's a killer. I rolled her in there and actually went a little too deep and the top light was blinking and instead of just letting it go, I tried to roll a little further and keep it from blinking, and the tree came down and I never even saw yellow. I heard Tony leave. I guess lucky for me, my car smoked the tires and I wasn't the one that lost it. It still was a dumb mistake on my part, and you've got to learn from those and move on. You've got to be on your game up there. With thousand-foot racing, the starting line is huge anymore."

HAS THE SERIES REACHED A POINT WHERE IT IS ANYBODY'S GAME? Yeah, actually one through 10 is separated quite a bit in the points. Capps has won five races, Tony has won quite a few, Ashley is right up there. It's definitely a close class. The Countdown has kind of created this deal, because you just know you have to be in the Top-10, and not that that's easy, but I think some of the teams might test a little more and do things that they normally would not have to. I know the Countdown got me the first year. I wouldn't have won the world championship without it, and I wasn't a big fan of it at the time, but now the Countdown is the only thing that's saving and salvaging my season, and I am a big fan of it. The fans love it and it's a lot of excitement for them. My other two teammates, Neff and Force, they definitely know that they are not secure in the deal, and it's going to be exciting, the last three races. Indy is our biggest race. We are looking forward to it, but we definitely have to have a good car. We are not going to get in there by being lucky or just running mediocre. We are going to have to run good."

Have you and crew chief Jimmy Prock and your team been able to get any information from the other John Force Racing cars, or the Neff and John's teams, are they pretty much keeping it to themselves because you are all fighting for that position? "No. Our team, John Force, doesn't work that way. We try to help each other and our goal is to have four Ford Mustangs in the Top-10, especially since Ford is a major sponsor of the NHRA it's going to be good if we can do that. No, we help each other and work together. Sometimes, though, we have different combinations. We don't always run these cars the same way, and that can be good and bad. Ashley's car, it's the best car we've got. And back at Chicago, a few races ago, we decided to put our car more back like we used to run it, which is how Ashley's car is ran and we share data with them and work together. No, definitely, we all help each other and we are working together to have four in the Top-10."

What has been the toughest for you and your team this season? do you believe that there is a way to create momentum? "Well, consistency, that's the biggest reason why we are all here. We have not been consistent. Going up the race track and down four times in qualifying, and being up near the top four cars, every run down the track, it helps, and that's how you get momentum. The crew chief gets confidence, the driver gets confidence, and you know you're going to get up there, and you know you're going to go down the race track. That's something that we have not had much this year. Look at Cruz last year, he had the best car the last three races of the year and just basically dominated. We've got to be in that Top-10. Any of the Top- 10 drivers can win this championship, and you've just got to get the momentum and get hot at the right time. That's what it's going to take. Again, as good as the cars are and the competition, if you had a semi-final average, every race in the Countdown or every race up to this point, you know, you're secure and you might even win the championship. So you don't do that without consistency and just going down the racetrack."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan