Robert Hight takes Auto Club Chevrolet to Southern Nationals semifinals

Robert Hight takes Auto Club Chevrolet
to Southern Nationals semifinals

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7) – Robert Hight set the elapsed-time track record twice in Sunday’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, but he fell in the semifinals to Ron Capps for the second time in three races.

Hight – driving the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS – overpowered Chad Head and John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force in consecutive rounds, with record-setting performances in both. His pass of 3.882 seconds at 328.06 mph against Head reset the mark established earlier in the day by Matt Hagan, by five thousandths of a second. That put head in another matchup against Force, whom he bested two weeks ago at Houston.

In the second round, Hight bested the track record again. He posted a run of 3.880 seconds at 320.81 mph, straight down the track, while Force smoked the tires and clocked in at 5.508 seconds at 118.26 mph.

For the third consecutive race, Hight matched up against the reigning champion Capps, whom he lost to in the finals of the NHRA SpringNationals, and matched up against in a quad in last weekend’s Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte. Hight – like teammate John Force the previous elimination round – got the advantage against Capps at the start, Hight’s reaction time of .058 seconds was better than Capps’s .060-second time. Hight held the lead at the 60- and 330-feet marks but scuffed the tires halfway down and Capps raced by, with a time of 3.968 seconds at 318.77. Hight’s time was 4.899 seconds at 161.07 mph.

“Awesome runs early on,” said Hight, a three-time Atlanta winner. “We just didn’t back it down enough in the semis. We keep doing this and the wins are going to come. We’re working hard, everyone is doing their job and we’re racing aggressive. That’s how (crew chief) Jimmy Prock races.”

The semifinals appearance showed the team continues to make progress, with Hight eager to win his first race of 2017 soon.
“I really thought this was the day, though,” Hight said. “I’m driving good, but we’ll move on to the next one. I we get conditions right at Topeka, you might see the first 3.70-(second) Funny Car.”

The solid showing in Atlanta helped move Hight up to fourth in the Funny Car points standings.

Hight and team return to action May 19-21 in the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

4-Second Reads:

Elimination Run No. 1: 3.882 seconds/328.06 mph, def. No. 8 Chad Head, 4.004 sec./319.29 mph; now 10-3 all-time against Head, with five consecutive victories
Elimination Run No. 2: 3.880 seconds/320.81 mph, def. No. 1 Courtney Force, 5.508 sec./118.26 mph; now 12-8 all-time against Force
Elimination Run No. 3: 4.899 seconds/161.07 mph, lost to No. 4 Ron Capps, 3.952 sec./320.89 mph; now 30-25 all-time against Capps
Hight has now won his first-round matchup in six consecutive races, starting with the NHRA Arizona Nationals in February at Phoenix.
Force is now 8-7 this season in elimination rounds.
Force is now 24-10 at Atlanta Dragway in elimination rounds.
Force is now 381-244 in all-time elimination rounds.