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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Keeping Pace

Robert Hight aims to close NHRA Western Swing with win in Seattle

Robert Hight celebrates his NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car victory at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)
Robert Hight celebrates his NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car victory at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)

Robert Hight heads to Seattle's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event with high hopes of winning for the first time at Pacific Raceways behind the wheel of his John Force-owned Funny Car.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Seattle, WA- In 2005 Robert Hight rolled into Pacific Raceway in the middle of his rookie season and raced to the final round in his first appearance at the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals. He lost that race to teammate and friend Eric Medlen. To date that has been his highlight performance in the great Northwest. Three times he has lost in the quarterfinals, twice he has been eliminated in the first round and last year he raced to the semi-finals before losing to eventual winner Tim Wilkerson.

“I got off to a great start in Seattle my rookie season, getting to that final against Eric. Since then I haven’t had much luck at Pacific Raceway. I am looking forward to changing that luck this weekend. We switched up the clutch on my Auto Club Ford Mustang in Sonoma and it started responding on Sunday. I can’t wait to get to that first qualifying session on Friday,” said Hight, one of two Funny Car drivers who has clinched a spot in the 2012 Countdown.

By qualifying for the MOPAR Mile-High Nationals in Denver Hight was the first Funny Car driver to secure a spot in the Countdown to the Championship. Last weekend Ron Capps locked up a spot as well. Capps has been hot on Hight’s tail-lights heading into the Western Swing. However over the last two races both drivers have cooled racking up only one round win each at the last two races. Hight has a substantial point lead over the veteran Capps and he does not want to see that lead shrink in the cool air of Washington State.

“Last race I picked up the round I lost to Capps in Denver. I want to be the No. 1 qualifier for the Countdown. I have won a championship from the No. 10 spot and now I’d like to win a championship from the No. 1 spot. Jimmy Prock and Eric Lane have really been getting a good tune-up together for the rest of the regular season races and especially the Countdown. There is also the Traxxas Shootout to consider,” said Hight.

Hight was the second driver to lock up a spot in the inaugural Traxxas Shootout. Teammate John Force grabbed the first spot with his win at the season opening NHRA Winternationals and Robert Hight followed suit the next weekend with a win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Since then five other drivers have won races and will square off with Hight including teammate Mike Neff, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Johnny Gray and Jeff Arend. The final spot in the eight car field will hopefully go to Hight’s teammate rookie sensation Courtney Force but a fan vote and lottery selection stand in her way.

“I want to win the Traxxas Shootout for a number of reasons. Number one is the $100,000 for winning the race, secondly Traxxas is a new sponsor for JFR and finally I want a shot at another run down Lucas Oil Raceway Park before we go into eliminations at the Mac Tools US Nationals. You want as many runs down the track as you can get and being in the final will give not just us but our whole team more data for race day,” added Hight.

First Hight wants to focus on going rounds at the O’Reilly Northwest NHRA Nationals. Since his last final round in Atlanta, which was his fifth final in six races, he has two semi-final appearances but only eight round wins to his credit. At one point this season Hight won seventeen rounds in a row. Hight knows that Seattle will be a great starting point to build up momentum for the Countdown.

“We are excited about this weekend. We don’t want to go too many more races without another win. After Seattle we’ll have some time off and I want to be thinking about race wins,” said Hight.

Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.