St. Louis: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT HEADS TO GATEWAY LOOKING FOR FIRST 2009 WIN ST LOUIS (April 27, 2009) --- Robert Hight is tired of being frustrated. He is turning over a new leaf heading into the 13th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International ...

HIGHT HEADS TO GATEWAY LOOKING FOR FIRST 2009 WIN

ST LOUIS (April 27, 2009) --- Robert Hight is tired of being frustrated. He is turning over a new leaf heading into the 13th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.

The 2005 rookie of the year and perennial championship contender has been off his game in 2009 opening the season with his longest winless drought of his career. Entering the seventh race of the season Hight hasn't even reached a final which has the former trap shooting champion at a loss. He isn't giving up or even coming close to that attitude

"I am not going to be discouraged about our situation anymore. I feel like I have been in a bad mood for a couple of races and I have to just get over it. I have one of the best teams in the NHRA. I have the best owner, John Force and the best teammates with Ashley (Force Hood) and (Mike) Neff. I know we will get this Auto Club Ford Mustang figured out and I am hoping that happens at Gateway this weekend," said Hight.

Last year at Gateway Hight dropped a semi-final round to teammate Mike Neff who appeared to have the Mustang to beat that day. That was the furthest Hight has advanced in Madison so he is looking forward to getting to his first GIR final and first final of 2009.

"In the past four seasons I had won at least one race by now. The longest I ever went before winning a race was 2007 when I won in Las Vegas then Atlanta and I had reached a final in Pomona and Phoenix that year as well," said the only Funny Car driver to have led the points at least once the past four seasons.

To put Hight's drought in perspective in his rookie year heading into GIR Hight had a win and runner-up, Houston and Atlanta, respectively. In 2006 Hight opened the season with a win in Pomona and a runner-up in Atlanta. Last season Hight again opened the season with a win in Pomona and a runner-up in Phoenix.

This year Hight has two semi-final finishes (Pomona and Las Vegas) to Ron Capps the current points leader to go along with three first round losses and one second round defeat. He is currently tied for 9th place, his lowest career position, with teammate Mike Neff in the Full Throttle point standings.

Still Hight knows that at any moment his fortunes could turn. In the past three races he has seen Funny Car drivers jump from the bottom of the Top Ten to near the top as teammate Ashley Force Hood made a big move following her Houston victory and rookie Matt Hagan (Las Vegas runner-up) and veteran Jack Beckman (Atlanta win) both leapt into second place after strong performances.

"I am hoping to get on a roll at St. Louis like Tim Wilkerson did last year. He got the win over Neff and then went to three more finals in a row it seemed. I have all the confidence in my team led by Jimmy Prock so I am feeling pretty good all things considered," said Hight.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Mike Neff