HIGHT CASHES IN WITH EMOTIONAL WIN IN SUMMITRACING.COM NATIONALS Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California driver Robert Hight earned his first win of the season on his third trip to the finals with an emotional win over rival Ron Capps in...
HIGHT CASHES IN WITH EMOTIONAL WIN IN SUMMITRACING.COM NATIONALS
Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California driver Robert Hight earned his first win of the season on his third trip to the finals with an emotional win over rival Ron Capps in the final round of the SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hight bested Capps with a less than glamorous final round pass of 5.126 at 282.90 miles per hour. Hight already had taken over second place in the POWERade points standings prior to the final, but the win moved him to within 88 points of Capps.
"I think I got it a little bit too far outside and it smoked the tires," Hight said of the final. "I never saw Capps, so I gave it a quick pedal (feathering of the throttle in an attempt to regain traction) and I saw the win light come on in my lane. It wasn't pretty ,but we'll take it. I haven't won a lot of races pedaling and I haven't had much luck in Vegas, so I think I had some help along the way today."
Hight could not control his emotions after picking up the win in his first trip back to the tour following Medlen's death from a testing accident in Gainesville, Fla.
"It is amazing," said the six-time tour winner. "I hated to sit out Houston (but) it is nice to get back out here with friends and family. It is amazing how many lives Eric touched because he made everybody happy. It is just not the same coming to the races without your teammate and best friend. I was actually without two teammates today (because) John (Force) didn't qualify. That made this whole day sort of weird."
Also carrying the banner for Team Castrol, Ashley Force improved her position in the points by knocking out one of her father's nemeses, Cruz Pedregon, in the first round.
"I didn't gamble at all this week," Ashley smiled, "(because) I wanted to save my luck for the track."
That luck ran out versus Jim Head in round two when she dropped the quarterfinal match-up, 4.979 to 4.856. She had to pedal her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang right off of the starting line but was closing on Head at the finish.
JOHN FORCE, 57, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Race results: Did not qualify
Notable: Qualifying streak of 395 consecutive events ended.
Quotable: "I was given the same opportunities as everyone else. We just didn't get the job done. It's that simple. I've still got two cars in and there's a Force still out there still (daughter Ashley was the No. 3 qualifier at 4.748 seconds in the Castrol GTX Ford and son-in-law Robert Hight (No. 2 at 4.740 in the Auto Club of Southern California Ford)."
ASHLEY FORCE, 24, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.748 seconds, 321.81 mph
Race results: Beat Cruz Pedregon; lost to Jim Head.
Notable: Extended qualifying streak to four consecutive event and moved up in NHRA point standings to 12th place (previously 15th) only 30 points outside the Countdown to 8.
Quotable: "I pedaled it a little (in the second round) because I felt a little shake. I don't know if that was the right thing to do (but) we came out and went a round and that is what we are supposed to do."
ROBERT HIGHT, 37, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.740 seconds, 304.87 mph
Race results: Beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Del Worsham, Jim Head and Ron Capps
Notable: First career win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and first win of season. Moved into second place in NHRA POWERade point standings, 88 points from No. 1 spot
Quotable: "All of our sponsors from Auto Club of Southern California to Ford to Mac Tools, they are just so supportive. It is all one big family. It is not just a business relationship. We do a lot of things together. With their help it is making us stronger. Ford is helping us out with making these cars safer. That is the coolest thing about John Force Racing. (John) has put together not just business relationships but family relationships."