Joliet: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT WANTS TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE IN CHICAGO JOLIET, IL (June 2, 2010) --- In Topeka, Kansas two weeks ago Robert Hight checked off a couple of "firsts" en route to his 17th career Funny Car win. He had never won at Heartland Park-Topeka and...


JOLIET, IL (June 2, 2010) --- In Topeka, Kansas two weeks ago Robert Hight checked off a couple of "firsts" en route to his 17th career Funny Car win. He had never won at Heartland Park-Topeka and he had never won three national events in a row before recording four round wins on Sunday in impressive fashion. With checks next to those two items Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team turn their eyes to Rt. 66 Raceway in Joliet looking for a first win and a possible extension of his winning streak.

"The long range forecast (for Joliet) looks pretty good. In fact it's going to be great conditions. That's a great race track and it's one where you can really throw down and flex your muscles and make some horsepower, so I think we're going to be able to do that. I don't like my chances as well when it's like that because we have been dominant under the hot, gooey, sticky tracks," said the 17-time winner. "That's what we need to continue with, but to win a championship you need to be able to race and win under any and all conditions. Even in the Countdown, it's going to be the fall, but it's not going to be great conditions at every race track. Everywhere you go you have the same conditions as your competitors you just have to do a better job than the rest of them."

In Kansas Hight's Auto Club Mustang continued its streak of qualifying and race day dominance. During O'Reilly Summer Nationals qualifying Hight grabbed 10 of the available 12 qualifying bonus points recording the quickest runs on the first three qualifying sessions and the third quickest lap of the final session. On race day Hight started his day by setting both end of the track record with a blistering 4.074 seconds at 310.70 mph pass on a bye run. He defeated veteran Del Worsham, Ron Capps and finally Jeff Arend to grab the win.

Hight narrowly missed having the quickest runs of each session on race day as well. He was edged out for quickest of the second round by one thousandth of a second by Ron Capps (4.126 to 4.127). Hight exacted his revenge in the next round running 4.122 to Capps' 4.155.

"When (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) is confident you can definitely see it in his eyes. He's not going back to the box and making a bunch of changes. He just wants to know what the latest conditions are. He wants to know what the track temperature is and then he makes a run and makes his last change. It's working unbelievable. In the past, Jimmy Prock has been known for big horsepower and when the conditions are good, throw down and go for the throat," said Hight.

"Right now, it gives me a lot of confidence that we're running within a couple hundredths of a second from run to run to run, 120 degree plus race track. That gives you a lot of confidence because that's hard to do. There are so many variables in these cars, but Jimmy Prock definitely has it going on right now and what's good is that all of our teams work together. When we come out of this we're going to have three quick Ford Mustangs going into that Countdown and I like our chances."

By grabbing his third win in a row Hight joined an illustrious list of drivers who have accomplished this feat. The last Funny Car driver to win three in a row was Cruz Pedregon who won the last three races of the 2008 season to secure his second Full Throttle Funny Car championship. Other notables with three in a row on their racing resume include John Force (11 times), Don Prudhomme (twice), Tony Pedregon and Frank Hawley. If Robert can extend the streak to four in a row he would become one of only three drivers win four in a row (Kenny Bernstein, 1987 and John Force, 2000). The longest consecutive Funny Car event win streak in seven by Don Prudhomme (1975-76). Prudhomme won the last five races of the 1975 season (an in-season record) and the first two of the 1976 season.

"I talked about (being dominant) in the beginning of the season. I want to win the next championship (so) I'm not using the Countdown to my benefit. I want to be in the ballgame all year long, win a lot of races, and be in a dominant fashion like John Force used to be. Anymore, that's tough to do in the Funny Car Class. The racing is so close. Right now, as good as we're running, we probably only have two or three hundredths of a second advantage on the next guy. That's not enough. You could win or lose right on the starting line. It gives us a little time here where we could maybe do a little testing. We've even thought about maybe putting some of these parts, and things that are variables and things that can really change your program, maybe putting them aside for the Countdown, because we know how good they are. We want to do some testing now so we know when we get to the Countdown we have the best possible combination."

Hight reached the final of the 13th annual UA Rt. 66 Nationals in 2006 before falling to teammate and boss John Force. Rt. 66 Raceway is one of seventeen tracks that have seen an all JFR final round. The most recent all JFR final was the Robert Hight versus Ashley Force Hood final in Atlanta this season. Force Hood was also runner-up to her father John Force during the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide Nationals giving JFR two 1-2 finishes so far in 2010.

-source: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Don Prudhomme , Ashley Force , Jeff Arend , Robert Hight , Frank Hawley