Pomona: Hight, Neff preview

MODEST PRESEASON RESULTS HAVE HIGHT, NEFF READY FOR WINTERNATIONALS Robert Hight and Mike Neff learned a lot over the course of their week-long preseason testing session at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. With brand new chassis, added weight, and...

MODEST PRESEASON RESULTS HAVE HIGHT, NEFF READY FOR WINTERNATIONALS

Robert Hight and Mike Neff learned a lot over the course of their week-long preseason testing session at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. With brand new chassis, added weight, and crew chiefs that are recognized as the brightest minds in the sport both Hight and Neff will head into the first race of the 2008 NHRA POWERade season with some questions still to answer. Their boss, 14-time POWERade Funny Car Champion John Force, showed them that their newly designed Ford Mustangs could run low E.T. recording the quickest pass (4.76 seconds) of the session to go along with two previous 4.78 second passes.

Neither Hight nor Neff made a full pass under 100 percent Ford power but Hight did record the quickest 60ft. pass of his career and both teams gained valuable information that each team will incorporate into there respective tune-ups.

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The Drivers

Robert Hight, 38, driver of the Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, is entering 2008 following his second consecutive POWERade championship runner-up finish. He is the only Funny Car driver to have led the points each of the last three seasons. The 2005 winner of the Auto Club's Road to the Future award that identifies the Rookie of the Year, he owns the two quickest quarter mile times in Funny Car history (4.646 and 4.636 seconds).

Mike Neff, 41, driver of the John Force Racing Ford Mustang, is entering his rookie season with a head start after jumping behind the wheel for the final two events of 2007 season. Neff takes over the driving duties for the late Eric Medlen, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a testing accident in March of last season. A racing veteran Neff grew up in Hemet, Calif., racing dirt bikes and off-road trucks.

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Robert Hight History at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona: Victories -- 2. In his last four starts at Auto Club Raceway, Robert Hight is 13-2 with wins at the 2006 Winternationals and last November's Auto Club Finals and a runner-up finish at the 2007 Winternationals.

Not No. 1? No Problem: Six of Robert's eight victories have come from No. 1 or No. 2 starting positions. The only two exceptions are his victories at Auto Club Raceway where he won the 2006 Winternationals from the No. 12 spot and last year's Auto Club Finals from No. 14. Hight has never started from the No.1 position at Auto Club Raceway.

Mike Neff History at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona: The Champ is back, sort of: Mike Neff is the defending Funny Car champion at the CARQUEST Winternationals insomuch as he was the crew chief on the car in which Gary Scelzi qualified No. 1, set a Winternationals speed record of 333.49 miles per hour and won the race.

Last Time at Pomona: In only his second professional start Mike Neff lost a first round match-up to Mike Ashley.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Mike Ashley , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Mike Neff