HIGHT SEES OPPORTUNITY TO START NEW STREAK IN ENGLISHTOWN ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 7, 2010) --- Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not...
HIGHT SEES OPPORTUNITY TO START NEW STREAK IN ENGLISHTOWN
ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 7, 2010) --- Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
When Robert Hight's bid to win four NHRA Funny Car nationals in a row came to end on Sunday night in Chicago the 2009 Full Throttle Funny Car champion did not go into a funk or blame anyone. He looked at the situation, took the positives from it, and began focusing on starting a new streak this weekend as the NHRA tour heads to Englishtown, New Jersey for the 41st annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals, June 11-13, 2010.
"We are running good and we can just start another streak. They don't go forever but I definitely don't feel down headed to Englishtown. I know we can do the job. We are going to go (to Englishtown) and try and get another first. We have had a lot of firsts lately. We won Topeka for the first time, won St. Louis for the first time, and won three in a row for the first time. I have been to the final (in Chicago) before but I lost to John. I want to get on another winning streak and we can get that started this next weekend," said Hight a 30-time NHRA finalist.
Hight was impressed with Hagan's recent performance but he was not surprised.
"That is what I have been saying. Those guys aren't out there watching us win all these races and they are not sitting still. We have to keep working because those guys are trying to keep getting better. You want to bring out the best in your opponent. I went over Sunday night to the DieHard pits and personally congratulated Matt (Hagan), (crew chief) John (Medlen), (crew chief) Tommy (DeLago) and (owner) Don (Schumacher). This is a great rivalry and I welcome the challenge. They got us in Chicago but we have a strong team and I know my Auto Club guys are up for any challenge plus we have two more teams working together with John's team and Ashley's team," said Hight.
"We are one big team. It is like the Ford One program. We are all pulling in the same direction and it shows. John started out strong this season and then I got hot. I know Ashley will be right there with us. We are 1-2-3 in the points and that is because our entire team top to bottom is strong. We are all pulling in the same direction and that is exciting to be a part of that kind of program."
In the past week much has been made of Hight's comments published in USA Today regarding his recent dominance of the Funny Car class and how that relates to team owner John Force's dominance of the category throughout the decade of the 1990s. Hight was speaking about his recent win streak of three in a row and how that kind of performance related to last season's early struggles for his Auto Club team.
"I felt bad about how much attention that quote got. The thing is I wasn't saying that (John was) washed up. I would never say that. It is harder to do what John did in the 1990s in Funny Car today. When I said I wanted to be dominant like John was, I meant that I wanted to win a ton of races. You saw it today (in the Chicago elimination rounds) if I would have been a little off today in the semis (Jack) Beckman would have had me there. You look at the race between Ashley (Force Hood) and (Matt) Hagan in the semis. (Hagan won with a national record time of 4.022 seconds over Force Hood's 4.044 second run.) This racing is friggin close. You better have everything from the driver to the crew to the car together. We have had that the last four weeks. Somebody came along and got us."
In an impromptu discussion with the Chicago area media during one the many rain delays that plagued the Joliet race 14-time Funny Car champion John Force jokingly accused Hight of stepping on his cape. Hight got the joke but was still quick to acknowledge how important Force is to the sport and how formidable he is.
"(I heard) John said I was stepping on his cape that is not the case. Since I have been driving my attitude is to grab onto John's cape. He is the man. He is the king. Look at what he has done this year alone, three wins and a runner-up. Two of his wins have been at huge events, the 50th Winternationals and the Inaugural Four-Wide race in Charlotte. There is not a tougher competitor out here than John Force," added Hight.
Even though the win streak came to an end in Chicago Hight did reach his fourth final in a row and moved into the Full Throttle point lead in the process. Three John Force Racing Ford Mustangs hold down the top spots with second year driver and Chicago winner Matt Hagan tied for third with Ashley Force Hood.
Hight has never won in Englishtown but as the closest race to the HQ of major team sponsor Castrol Hight feels a strong sense that the JFR contingent will elevate their game.
"We are going to hit it hard. I have never had any luck in Englishtown. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) has won there with (former John Force Racing driver Gary) Densham. We are going to go there and try and get a first. I have never been to a final in Englishtown. We are going to go there and step it up. We'll try and do some good for Castrol at their home base. We'll have three good JFR Ford Mustangs there."