HOUSTON (April 23, 2012) --- Robert Hight is not looking at streak records or career stats as he gets geared up for the 25th annual NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway Park this weekend. The winner of the past four NHRA Funny Car national event titles says his number one goal for this weekend is to get his AAA Texas Ford Mustang Funny Car qualified on Friday and then make consistent runs on Saturday to get ready for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I am proud of my guys and especially my crew chief Jimmy Prock for giving me a Funny Car that has been in position to win the past four races. It has been a team effort. The car has won some races and I have done a pretty good job driving it. We are all focused on just getting qualified and going rounds,” said Hight, a three-time No. 1 qualified in 2012.
While Hight attempts to downplay the significance of his current win streak he recognizes that he has placed his name on a list with some legendary drivers. Only three other drivers have ever won five races in a row and they are hands-down first ballot Hall of Famers when you consider their names are Don Prudhomme, teammate and boss John Force and two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon. Only five drivers have won four races in a row when you add Hight and 2012 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Bernstein to that trio of drivers.
“You look at the final quad of racers at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. It was Force, Pedregon, Ron Capps and me. Those three other guys are guaranteed Hall of Famers. That was a big win for us. It is hard enough to win one race out here but to win four in a row is more than I could have dreamed,” said Hight.
Hight’s career has been meteoric from the start when you consider he won for the first time at Royal Purple Raceway Park in only his fifth start as a professional. His Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car was so dominant in qualifying his rookie season that he earned his way into the Skoal Showdown even though he did not compete in half of the eligible races. He has won multiple races every year of his career and he has led the points at least one event every year as well. Those two stats are qualifications that no other driver has ever achieved.
“I have been lucky to get a great opportunity from John Force to be with a tremendous team led by Jimmy Prock. The biggest key to my success has been the fact that we have kept my crew guys together. Our core group of 7-8 guys has been together since my rookie year. I want to continue to keep getting better as a driver because I know my guys are pouring their guts into this race car,” said Hight, a former clutch specialist on John Force’s Castrol GTX Mustangs in the 90s.
With four wins under his belt so far in 2012, Hight has ironically only tied his all-time consecutive round win record. In 2010 he won three races in a row and advanced to a fourth consecutive final versus Matt Hagan before losing in Chicago, giving the 2009 Funny Car champ a career-best 15 straight round wins. He has matched that streak this year, but he has four Wally’s to show for the effort considering he got his fourth win in only three rounds due to the unique Four-Wide format in Charlotte.
“You definitely want to win as many races as you can. I have had a number of interviews lately when people have asked me would I rather win now or in the Countdown at the end of the season. I want to win now and at the end of the season,” said Hight, a 27-time Funny Car national event winner. “I don’t think you can pick when you win. You just have to take advantage of every opportunity. Jimmy and I have talked about wanting to dominate a whole season. I am hoping we are on one of those streaks like Force in ‘96 or Tony Schumacher in ’08. Those guys won over ten races in those seasons and they won Driver of the Year. I am not looking that far ahead, but I want to keep going rounds and see where we wind up at the end of the season.”