ROBERT HIGHT HIGHT'S CHAMPIONSHIP ASPIRATIONS HANG IN BALANCE IN VEGAS, AGAIN LAS VEGAS, NV (October 27, 2009) --- The second Las Vegas stop on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series has been a cruel mistress for Robert Hight and the Auto...
HIGHT'S CHAMPIONSHIP ASPIRATIONS HANG IN BALANCE IN VEGAS, AGAIN
LAS VEGAS, NV (October 27, 2009) --- The second Las Vegas stop on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series has been a cruel mistress for Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team.
In 2007 Hight was vying for his first championship and posted the number one qualifying time only to have his Mustang break during the burnout in the first round. The loss opened the door for eventual champion Tony Pedregon to distance himself from Hight for the championship.
Last season Hight was locked into a tight battle with Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson for the championship. He once again qualified No. 1 and he raced to the final round where he was defeated by eventual Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon.
In both years Hight was sitting in the No. 3 position in points coming into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This year Hight is rolling into Las Vegas in the No. 1 position in points, 13 points ahead of teammate Ashley Force Hood, 48 points ahead of Tony Pedregon and 63 points ahead of Ron Capps.
The lead does not give Hight a ton of confidence but he likes this position with two races remaining. He is also looking forward to the possibility of getting another championship for John Force Racing
"I'm very excited about it. We've kind of gotten spoiled over here over the years. This team won 12 straight championships, with Tony and John. Then, there was a year that we lost, and now the last two, so we definitely want to get John Force Racing and these Ford Mustangs back in the top where we belong. We feel that we work harder than the rest of the teams out there, and we need to win," said Hight. "This championship needs to go back to where it belongs, and that's kind of where we're at, you know? Not trying to be greedy or anything else, but we work hard here, Ford works hard, all of our sponsors, and as long as it's one of the two of us, I'm excited. It's probably less pressure when you're racing one of your own teammates than having to go out there and race another one of those cars."
Hight has had the textbook up and down season in 2009. He turned his championship hopes around racing to the finals at the Mac Tools US Nationals and then winning the first two races of the Countdown. His positive attitude was the one constant for Hight.
"I never gave up, that's for sure. The whole team never gave up. It probably made it easier having Ashley doing so well. She was kind of carrying the load for the whole team. But the way this whole team works is we help each other, we work together, and we knew that if we got too lost and what we were doing wasn't working that we could go over with Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas' help, and probably get our car to run similar to theirs -- and that's actually what happened," said Hight.
"(Team owner) John (Force) kind of put that all together. I think John changing drivers clear back in Reading, Pennsylvania, had something to do with that. You know, I'm a big baseball fan, and I follow the Dodgers, and I used to watch Tommy Lasorda, and he would go out there and he would coach third base. You know, the manager never does that. But I asked him about it last year when he was the Grand Marshal at Pomona, and he said, 'You've just got to shake things up. When that batter looks down there at third base and sees a regular batting coach, he's not thinking. But, if he looks down there and sees the manager, his boss, he's probably going to perform a little better, and it just shakes things up. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) looking in there at John, and John looking out at Jimmy, I think for whatever reason it worked, and my car turned around that weekend."
One thing is for sure Hight will be focused on going rounds and taking care of business this weekend. At the Las Vegas event press conference Hight was relaxed and looking forward to getting back to the track.
"I hated having so much time off. I would like to race every weekend. Getting back to the track with my guys will be a lot of fun and we are going to race hard for this championship," said Hight.