TOPEKA, KS --- Last year Robert Hight and the Auto Club team broke through at Heartland Park – Topeka for their first win at the O’Reilly NHRA Summmer Nationals. The win capped a three in a row streak for the former crewman turned driver. It was the first time Hight had won in Topeka and it was also the first time he won three NHRA Funny Car national event titles in a row.
“Last year’s win was great. We were No. 1 qualifier and then we won the race. I had never won at Topeka and getting three wins in a row was unbelievable. The next race we went to the final in Chicago and almost got four in a row,” said Hight. “I want to get another streak started this weekend.”
“This year we started strong with wins at Pomona and Las Vegas but lately we have been stumbling a little. It started in Houston and continued a little in Atlanta. Going rounds and winning races is not easy in this category. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) is looking at a couple of things and we are making some progress. The good news is we think we are close. You can’t get too discouraged. This Auto Club Ford Mustang team is too good.”
In Hight’s career racing at Heartland Park – Topeka he has been the No. 1 qualifier four times in six appearances. Hight is hoping to turn his latest qualifying slump around at a track he is familiar with making quick runs. In 2011 Hight has recorded three top four qualifying efforts and three qualifying efforts in the bottom half of the field.
“Our goal every race is to get all three John Force Racing Mustang in the top four in qualifying. We have been able to do that twice this season. I got a win in Las Vegas when that happened. I am hoping for a repeat of that this weekend in Topeka,” said the 38-time No. 1 qualifier.
Hight’s two wins in 2011 extends a number of streaks for the driver who was the quickest Funny Car driver to win 100 rounds in competition. Hight has led the Funny Car points standings every year of his professional career and he has won at least two races every season he has been a Funny Car driver. Amazingly in only six seasons Hight has raced into a number of career Funny Car Top Ten categories including No. 1 qualifiers and wins.
“I have to thank John (Force) for giving me this opportunity. He put me with a great team led by Jimmy Prock. Our crew guys have been awesome and we have kept my team together. Winning the championship in 2009 was great but we are looking for that second championship,” said Hight, the third Full Throttle Funny Car champion for John Force Racing.
“I am constantly amazed by John. In Atlanta he tied Warren Johnson’s all-time No. 1 qualifying record with 138 No. 1 qualifying efforts. I have always been a fan of Warren Johnson, he is a legend, and I am glad this year NHRA is recognizing their legends like Warren, Snake (Don Prudhomme), Kenny Bernstein and many more. To see my name on lists with some of these Funny Car legends shows me just how lucky I have been in my career.”