Sonoma: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT HOPES TO CAP WESTERN SWING WITH WIN AT INFINEON SONOMA, CA (July 21, 2008) --- For only the second time this season John Force Racing did not advance a Ford Mustang to the semi-final round at last week's Schuck's Auto Parts Supply NHRA ...

HIGHT HOPES TO CAP WESTERN SWING WITH WIN AT INFINEON

SONOMA, CA (July 21, 2008) --- For only the second time this season John Force Racing did not advance a Ford Mustang to the semi-final round at last week's Schuck's Auto Parts Supply NHRA Nationals. The odds on favorite to keep that streak alive was No. 1 qualifier Robert "Top Gun" Hight but he came up short after a big first round win.

His personal and team focus is to move up to the number one spot by the beginning of the Countdown. After a first round win over points leader Tim Wilkerson Hight was relieved but also mentally tired.

"I feel like it is already final round I am so worn out. The stress of having to race Tim Wilkerson first round, we have to capitalize on this. The guy is way out ahead of us and our only chance is to go and win this race. That is what we intend to do with this Auto Club Ford. I will say this that first run was all messed up. The throttle stop came off on the burn out. I felt the thing over rev and I was on and off it and luckily I didn't blow it up. "

In the second round Hight suffered a blown engine that ended his day and advanced former John Force Racing driver Tony Pedregon to the semis. The win also allowed Pedregon to barely edge past the world class trapshooter in the POWERade point standings, 822 to 821.

"We did what we had to do (in the first round) but then in the next round Tony Pedregon beat us. Our car blew up. We don't know what caused it. It pushed a head gasket out but nothing looked wrong. The head was put on properly. Nothing was burned up or hot. It wasn't like it was eating itself up. (John Force crew chief Austin) Coil always calls that 'an event.' It just blew up," said Hight.

The usually optimistic Hight was dejected after his early exit. He understands that you cannot let too many opportunities pass you by if you have hopes of grabbing the number one spot.

"I said it before the day started if we don't capitalize on Wilkerson qualifying bad and beat him first round which we did and then going on to the next round and losing we really didn't accomplish anything," said the current No. 1 qualifier for the US Smokeless Showdown. "We needed this. My goal is to be No. 1 when the points switch. We failed today."

Hight will have a busy week leading up to the 21st annual FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals as he meets with San Francisco and Sacramento area media, In addition to his pre-event media duties the nine time national event winner and baseball fan will be preparing to throw out the first pitch prior to the July 30th Los Angeles Dodgers versus San Francisco Giants baseball game.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Robert Hight