2017 begins anew in Houston for AAA Texas Funny Car driver Robert Hight

2017 begins anew in Houston for AAA Texas
Funny Car driver Robert Hight

Photo credit: Ron Lewis Photography

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 22) – Even though the NHRA SpringNationals is the fifth race of the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, AAA Texas Funny Car driver Robert Hight feels like the season started Saturday at Royal Purple Raceway.

Hight made two terrific runs during the final two qualifying sessions, snaring the No. 4 for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Hight hasn’t started the season like he wanted, and John Force Racing swapped his and John Force’s Funny Car teams three races ago. Crew chief Jimmy Prock and co-crew chief Chris Cunningham continue to work on development of Hight’s Chevrolet Camaro SS, and Saturday’s runs were proof the team is moving in the right direction.

“We’ve got to put what’s happened this year behind us,” Hight said. “We’ve got to move forward with the AAA Texas team. We’ve got a good car, a good team, and I’m excited. We’ve won here before, and I like that we’re going three in a row. After Vegas and two weekends off, it’s been a long time. I want to get out here and get racing, get in the swing of things.

“I’m going to stay on the road with the team from Charlotte to Atlanta and get in the groove of racing. It doesn’t seem like the season’s started because it’s been such a slow start to the calendar, and our performance hadn’t been great. We’re ready to kick it off right now.”

After smoking the tires in Friday’s two sessions, Hight put down a pass of 3.924 seconds at 327.11 mph in Q3, and then went even quicker in the final session: 3.894 at 329.67 mph. He was best among the 14 Funny Cars in Q4 and second-best in Q3.

“Making two runs like this on Saturday gives you a lot of confidence going into Sunday,” Hight said. “Tomorrow’s a new ballgame. It’s going to be cool, it’s going to be dry and more than likely, that 3.85 track record will not be around at the end of the day.”

Hight will face No. 13 qualifier Jim Campbell in the first round Sunday. Campbell made a top pass of 4.126 seconds at 299.73 mph.

“We tested some new things in (Las) Vegas and even had some new stuff back at the shop this week that we came up with,” Hight said. “We came in here never running a lot of this stuff. For Jimmy Prock to get a handle on it this quick is pretty amazing. We just overpowered the track yesterday.

“He was confident. He said, ‘We’re going to get there, and when we do, it’s going to be better.’ And he says there’s more left in it, too.”

Elimination rounds for Sunday’s NHRA Spring Nationals begin at noon Eastern/11 a.m. Central, with television coverage on Fox Sports 1 starting at 6 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Central.