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ROBERT HIGHT ROCKETS TO THE TOP OF THE FUNNY CAR LADDER AT SONOMA

ROBERT HIGHT ROCKETS TO THE TOP OF THE FUNNY CAR LADDER AT SONOMA

Veteran nitro Funny Car driver Robert Hight’s incredible 2022 continues to pick up steam.

After winning the Mile-High Nationals in Denver Sunday, Hight rolled off the trailer and took first place in Friday’s qualifying at the Denso Sonoma (Calif.) Nationals this weekend.

Hight, from the John Force Racing stable, clocked his fastest pass of the season at 3.825 seconds at 332.75 mph.

“You have to have a game plan when you get into one of these races,” Hight said. “You can’t imagine the end result. You can’t think about winning. You have to run once and really focus and do a good job on the Auto Club team (Friday night). (Friday night) is for position, that’s where you end up on Sunday. (Saturday) gets hotter and that’s when we really focus on trying to get a good race day setup. Unless a cold front comes, that will probably hold out for No. 1. Well done to my team.

“(Saturday) is just as important, if not more important, that you go out and get two good runs that are respectable and consistent so that you are ready for race day. (Saturday) will be very similar to the conditions we will encounter on Sunday. ”

Hight arrived in Sonoma first in the points standings based on five wins. He is trying to collect the third No. 1 qualifier of the season to go along with Gainesville and Bristol. Hight has 73 career number 1 qualifiers and is aiming for his 59th career national win in Sonoma.

Hight is trying to win his third race in a row and there is no better place than Sonoma to find the winner’s circle.

Hight has won the last three Funny Car Wallys of the NHRA Sonoma Nationals (2018, 2019 and 2021) and he aims to become the first driver in NHRA history to win four consecutive times in Sonoma. The Sonoma event did not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I love this track,” said Hight. “I’ve been here every year, they’ve had a national event as a fan, mechanic or driver. When I came here as a fan, I stayed on the ropes and dreamed of getting to work on one of these cars. This is what I wanted to do. Years later, the chance to ride and win here makes it even more special. I have all my family and friends here and we want to do a good job for them this year.”

Hight is also the track record holder for time and speed with 3.807 seconds and 339.87 mph in Sonoma, both set July 28, 2017. The speed mark is also the official NHRA National Funny Car record.

In addition to his three most recent wins, he also won at Sonoma in 2008 and started from the No. 1 qualifying position in 2006, 2017 and 2019.

“I think (Friday night) may have been my fastest run since the 2017 season when we set the record here and the record in Brainerd,” said Hight. “Then, in 2018, they changed the rules and shut up and gave us different rev limiters. It’s exciting and I hope that later in the year, when the cool conditions are there, we’ll have many more opportunities to do the same, if not better.

“You kind of have the luxury of being number 1 in points to be clear at the back of the line on the first run (of qualifying). We saw what was there. We saw cars driving very well. There were a lot of cars in the 80’s and (his crew chiefs) Jimmy (Prock) and Chris (Cunningham) have a really good handle on this tune-up. When (Ron) Capps ran right in front of me Jimmy got in the box and made some quick changes and then we went 82. I was impressed. When it left the starting line it really wanted to go right on me and at the beginning when it does normal you think a cylinder is out. But I could see right away that it didn’t have a cylinder, this thing was on the freighter. I had to get back into the groove and keep the rest of the way straight. In the middle of the track it was pulling and I knew it was going to be a good run. ”

While Hight’s track record in Sonoma has high expectations, that’s not a conversation he’s having with his team.

“Believe it or not, I don’t have to tell this team anything,” Hight said. “We are all on the same page. We know what our job is. We work together as a team. We work hard. You don’t have to tell these guys anything. Each and every one of them knows what to do. I know that’s boring, but from now on we want to win the championship for the rest of the year and that’s one run at a time. You cannot think about the outcome or results. You do one run at a time, and you run it, the results will come. ”

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