NO PANIC FOR HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB TEAM AS THEY TRY AND MOVE UP READING, PA --- Robert Hight's Funny Car title defense is off to in his words a "disasterous" start three races into the Countdown to 1 play-offs. With three first round losses to...
NO PANIC FOR HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB TEAM AS THEY TRY AND MOVE UP
READING, PA --- Robert Hight's Funny Car title defense is off to in his words a "disasterous" start three races into the Countdown to 1 play-offs. With three first round losses to start the play-offs Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team have slipped from second place to sixth in the point standings and they are in jeopardy of falling below ESPN announcer Mike Dunn's "Do or Dunn" dreaded yellow line. Dunn identifies the teams that in his opinion stand the longest shot of winning the Full Throttle championship.
Hight and his team are not panicking and if anything the slow start has the team making more aggressive moves than ever. With crew chief Jimmy Prock at the helm Hight knows that no points lead is safe and a national record could also be in jeopardy.
"It's been a disaster the start off the Countdown, losing three first rounds in a row. You can't have that, but we're not done yet. I have Jimmy Prock in my corner and this is how he likes to race. From here on out it's not just how we do on race day or how we qualify. We need to gain points every single qualifying round. Every run we make from here on out has super importance. We need to go into Reading and try to get those three points every qualifying run. We need to try and set a national record because the conditions are going to be there for that," said Hight.
"If we can do that, that's over a round and a half that we can gain before we ever get to race day in points. That's what we need to do. Jimmy Prock likes to race that way, that's the way he's always been, very aggressive and swing for the fences. He also doesn't do it blindly. He knows what we need to do and how to make that car run. This is his kind of conditions. Vegas could be nice and cool. Pomona could be nice and cool. If we do everything right we still have a shot at the end."
Hight trails teammates John Force and Ashley Force Hood in the points with Force holding down the top spot. For a multi-car team having to support and race against your teammates can be tricky. In Dallas Hight had to race Force in the first round and that sort of match-up could derail Hight's championship hopes if that scenario repeats itself again in 2010.
The conditions at Maple Grove Raceway have every team in the pro ranks licking their lips to try and put up monster numbers. Hight had some thoughts on what the fans could look for both at the track and on ESPN2's broadcast.
"They've re-done Reading's race track. It's all concrete now for us. The way the conditions are cooler this time of year, you're going to see a national record for Funny Car. I'm willing to put money on that. If it's in the sixties and a little cloudy and cool the temperature is going to be pretty near that. In the sixties and seventies and it just doesn't get any better than that. We know how to make big horsepower with these BOSS 500s and that's the kind of conditions where we like to flex our muscles and show what we're capable of," said Hight.
Hight owns the quickest elapsed times for both the ¼ mile and the 1000 ft. racing distances. He also knows that beyond going quick his team is capable to reeling off multiple wins in a row. Earlier this season Hight won three races in a row including his first win in Topeka. Hight has never won at Reading so reaching that goal is top of mind for the four time 2010 winner.
"Earlier this season I went to four finals in a row, won three of those races in a row so it's not uncharted territory. We've done this before and we're capable of doing it again. That's something that I keep looking back on. We've had some bad luck here in the Countdown, breaking the throttle cable, part malfunction in Indy first round. My Auto Club Mustang can run. We're not searching for a combination. We're not lost. We just have to do a better job catching things before they go wrong and being a little bit more proactive. If you give Jimmy [Prock] a good race car he can make it run," concluded Hight.