SLOW START HAS HIGHT LOOKING TO REVERSE FORTUNE IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS, NEV (March 31, 2009) --- Following the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston last weekend Robert "Top Gun" Hight was in no mood to talk. He was in the mood to race. For the...
SLOW START HAS HIGHT LOOKING TO REVERSE FORTUNE IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS, NEV (March 31, 2009) --- Following the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston last weekend Robert "Top Gun" Hight was in no mood to talk. He was in the mood to race. For the second race in a row his Auto Club Ford Mustang struggled in qualifying and then was ousted in the first round.
For a driver and a team used to starting quickly and leading the Funny Car class his current position of 9th place in the Full Throttle standings is unfamiliar territory. While Hight was not going to fake emotion or go through the motions he has the personal confidence to know better days are ahead for his team.
"We are struggling with consistency. I am a positive person and I know we have a great team. We just need to make consistent runs. We will get there. Last year we had motor problems and it seemed like we blew up about every run. Now we have a great motor and we just have to make it work for us," said Hight.
Last year Hight rolled into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway grabbed the number one qualifying spot but dropped a second round match-up to journeyman Funny Car racer Bob Bode. Still he reflects on his emotional win at The Strip in 2007 and his record setting run in 2006. He knows his Mustang can really succeed at this Bruton Smith owned facility. That passion for racing comes through when Hight thinks about getting back on the track.
"I am looking forward to getting to Las Vegas because I love going to races. More than just coming to the race track I love racing. We aren't getting to do enough of that lately. We need to race more on Sunday. You can learn a lot about your race car during eliminations so we just have to start going rounds. I won Las Vegas two years ago and I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of my Auto Club Ford Mustang in a couple of days," said Hight.
Before Hight starts flying down his assigned lane at The Strip he is going to clear his head by competing on different kind of lane on Thursday afternoon during the U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships. Hight an avid bowler whose high score is 279 tries to get in a few games during the season since he enjoys the competition and sees similarities to drag racing.
"I used to bowl on a junior league when I was a kid. We lived across the street from a bowling center. I bowled in high school and right up to when I went racing. It is a lot like my other passion trapshooting since you have to be focused every shot and be able to make minor adjustments from game to game. It's like what a crew chief does with changing track conditions. Everyone on my Auto Club team likes to bowl. When we get time, we bowl at a lot of the cities where we race," said Hight.
"Del Worsham introduced me to pro bowlers Danny Wiseman and Jim Tomak. Danny was just named one of the 50 greatest bowlers in PBA history. He is a huge race fan. Now that I know him, I have attended several PBA tournaments. It is amazing what the pros can do with a bowling ball. Their lane conditions are constantly changing and they have to adjust. They are fun to watch and having Danny point out what is going on, which helps me understand what kind of focus it takes to win."
A win this weekend would do wonders for Hight and the Auto Club team both mentally and statistically. Last week teammate Ashley Force Hood raced into the winner's circle in Houston and jumped from 9th to 3rd in the Full Throttle Funny Car standings. Hight knows he can race up the standing with a solid performance at The Strip.