Dallas: Hight - Ford interview 2009-09-23

This Week in Ford Racing September 23, 2009 Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang, is on a roll. Hight enters the second race in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to 1 following last week's victory at Charlotte and back-to-back ...

This Week in Ford Racing
September 23, 2009

Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang, is on a roll. Hight enters the second race in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to 1 following last week's victory at Charlotte and back-to-back final-round appearances. He looks to keep the momentum going as the series heads to the Texas Motorplex this weekend.

IT HAS BEEN AN EVENTFUL MONTH FOR YOU. "It has been a crazy month, that's for sure. It all worked out. John Force, you got to give it to him, he knows how to shake things up. I know it is accomplished in the end, and we're where we need to be now. We're a contender for this championship, but it's amazing how it all worked out. John is the king at that kind of stuff."

IS ALL OF THIS JUST SURREAL TO YOU? "Yes, it's very surreal. I guess like John always says, its destiny. I would have still been in his car come Indianapolis had Austin Coil not been sick. With Austin not being there and him being in the hospital, John thought it would be best to go back with Jimmy Prock. The bottom line is, that I have been saying for a long time is that our car is close. We just have not had any luck, and we've had little things bite us, but we were never that far off. It just seemed like when John got in my car in Reading, Pennsylvania, that things finally came together for the team, and they have been rolling ever since. I'm a big baseball fan and when I used to watch the Dodgers back in the '80s, I'd watch the manager Tommy Lasorda, and he would coach third base some of the innings. Last year when he came to the Auto Club Finals he was the grand marshal of our race and I asked him what was all that about, and he said you've got to just shake things up a bit. When the batter looks out there at the third base coach for signs, and it's the manager, it probably gets their mind right. Maybe with John being in the car and Jimmy tuning, I don't know if he thought different or what, but that car has been on a string ever since. I've got to give it to John Force for making all this happen, and it was a great business decision too, because we have a lot of sponsors that give us a lot of money and to only have three of these cars in the Countdown, that's not good enough for us. We had to do better than that."

YOU WERE ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTDOWN LOOKING IN A MONTH AGO. NOW YOU ARE ON A ROLL HEADING INTO THE SECOND RACE OF A FOUR-RACES-IN-FOUR-WEEKS STRETCH. ARE YOU AFRAID THAT IF YOU STOP, THE MAGIC IS GOING TO GO AWAY? "I'm glad that we have four in a row here. It's a perfect time to be on this roll and continue the momentum that we have going on here. I'm excited about that, and as a race-car driver in any form of motorsports, the more you're in a car every week, you don't get out, there are no days off, I think you perform better. It just gets easier. At least it does for me. I'm excited about going to Dallas this weekend and continuing this streak. I really want to do something in these next four races that we started in Charlotte, and not have it go down to the wire, like it has the last few years for us and we didn't get it done. It would be nice to have a little breathing room when we get to Vegas and Pomona."

THE POINTS ARE REALLY TIGHT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE 20 POINTS AWAY FROM THE LEADER AND ASHLEY FORCE HOOD IS ONLY ONE POINT AWAY FROM THE TOP SPOT. IS ANYONE REALLY GOING TO HAVE ANY BREATHING ROOM HERE? "That's true. There's too many good cars, but I honestly believe that if Ashley and I -- and Mike and John they are still in this thing too -- if we can go semi-finals every week from here on out, you'll win this thing. A first-round loss is going to kill you. You have to go rounds and make points up. There's too many good cars, and you're going to see a lot of first round head-to-head match- ups with the top 10 drivers, and when that happens we've got to beat them."

YOU'RE NOW GETTING BONUS POINTS FOR BEING THE TOP QUALIFIER. HOW MUCH DOES THAT PLAY INTO WHAT YOU'RE DOING? "It's big. It's huge. My crew chief, Jimmy Prock, never needed any incentive to try to set low ET every round, but this gave it to him. We've got to be smart about it. It's like trying to go up and hit a home run. If you go up and swing for the fences, you usually don't do it. If you just go up make good contact it seems to carry the ball, it's the same way with drag racing. If you try to run low ET and set a record, it usually doesn't happen. It happens when you're going down the track good and you just tune it up a little, that's when things come together. It's very important in qualifying that you go down the track three or four of the runs. Sometimes, I believe that it's not bad if you smoke the tires during one round of qualifying, trying a little too hard, then you kind of know what your boundaries are. You have to be smart and go down the track."

WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO THE TRACK IN DALLAS? "I've had good and bad luck in Dallas. I've won there before and two years before I failed to qualify when John had his big accident. Dallas is the first of its kind. It's an all- concrete track. It's been in existence for 20 years, or over 20 years, and is still in great shape. You see a lot of the tracks like Charlotte now that are going to concrete, no asphalt. It's great and if we get some good conditions its going to be fast. That's definitely what my Auto Club Ford likes. We like to tune this thing up and try to run in the oh's."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Robert Hight , Austin Coil