St. Louis: Robert Hight preview

HIGHT LOOKING TO USE TEAMWORK TO TURN AROUND ST LOUIS LUCK YORBA LINDA, CA (April 27, 2010) --- Before the AAA Missouri NHRA Midwest Nationals Robert Hight took time over his off weekend to write a column that will appear in an upcoming issue of...

HIGHT LOOKING TO USE TEAMWORK TO TURN AROUND ST LOUIS LUCK

YORBA LINDA, CA (April 27, 2010) --- Before the AAA Missouri NHRA Midwest Nationals Robert Hight took time over his off weekend to write a column that will appear in an upcoming issue of National Dragster where he detailed the ups and downs of being the reigning 2009 Full Throttle Funny Car champion. In the column he talks about happily giving more time to the fans and having his sponsors, primarily Auto Club, motivate him with banners and additional appearances. Hight also points out that while it is great to be the champion the time a driver gets to celebrate seems to go by as fast as his Auto Club Ford Mustang covers the race track.

"We can't live off last year. We have to look forward and try to produce again this time. If you spend too much time patting yourself on the back, you are going to get behind. Right after the Auto Club Finals, you take a little time off with your family and then it is right back trying to figure out how to get a couple of hundredths advantage on the next guy. I think this is the toughest the Funny Car class has ever been, top to bottom. You don't really get to celebrate like football, basketball or baseball champions," wrote Hight.

Heading into the AAA Missouri NHRA Midwest Nationals this weekend Hight will be looking to add a trip to the winner's circle at his sponsor's race to his resume. For the former crewman turned driver turned champion it is a moment that he wants to share.

"Being able to win a NHRA national event is incredible but to be able to do it at your sponsor's race makes it even sweeter. We have won at the Auto Club Finals (2007) and we would love to get the win at the AAA Missouri Midwest Nationals," said Hight.

"Our Ford Mustang is performing a lot better at this time of the year than we were last year when we came to St. Louis. We just need to go some rounds on Sunday. I've had to race John twice this year and he has the hottest race car in the category right now. It is always tough to race a teammate but if we do I would like it to be in the finals of the AAA Missouri Midwest Nationals."

Over the winter Hight's crew chief Jimmy Prock worked in the team's Brownsburg, Indiana shop with Mike Neff rebuilding Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to mirror Hight's championship form Mustang. It has paid immediate dividends for Force who has won three times already in 2010. The tuning triumvirate of Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, and Neff rightly gets much of the credit as does 14-time champion John Force. Hight is hoping that the similarities between the two hot rods will start to assist his team as well this weekend.

"We stayed over and tested in Las Vegas. We worked out some gremlins and made some really good runs. John also tested and I think all that data will really help both teams. It is just awesome to see John doing so well and dominating. That is my goal too. I want to dominate all season not just in the Countdown," said Hight.

If the domination is going to start in St. Louis Hight will have to buck a trend that has seen him traditionally qualify well but not carry that success over into race day. His best race day performance was 2008 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to teammate and 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year Mike Neff. Last year Hight was in the midst of his well documented performance tailspin, he qualified 12th and was quickly dispatched by fellow Ford driver Bob Tasca III in the first round.

In Hight's five previous appearances at Gateway International Raceway he has only qualified outside the top three once (2009) and was the No. 1 qualifier in 2006. His career record at the AAA Missouri NHRA Midwest Nationals is 4-5.

-source: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , Bob Tasca III , Mike Neff