Funny Car champs John Force, Robert Hight take on Norwalk’s Night Under Fire

Funny Car champs John Force, Robert Hight
take on Norwalk’s Night Under Fire

Robert Hight (front) and John Force — Photo credit: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery
NORWALK, Ohio (Aug. 9) – The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is taking a weekend off, but Funny Car champions John Force and Robert Hight will still be busy racing.

The two will race in the 40th anniversary of the Night Under Fire on Saturday at Summit Motorsports Park, continuing a long tradition of match racing by John Force Racing.

Force will be in his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS, while Hight will race his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy. Both cars will carry special livery of ParkerStore on the wings and hood for this weekend’s race.

“We’re excited to be coming back to the Night Under Fire,” Force said. “It’s a great show, and we’re gonna pack the house. The Baders (track owners) are like P.T. Barnum, and they do a great job promoting this race and taking care of the competitors and the fans.

“I love being there with the professionals racing. I’ll be there with the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet, along with Robert Hight who drives the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet. He’s hot right now; he just set the national speed record and won in Seattle. I’m looking forward to the big fireworks show and all the race cars.

“I gotta say welcome to the Parker Store family, as well. We’ll be spending time with them this weekend.”

Hight won two of the three races on the recently-completed Western Swing, culminating in a near-perfect performance in Seattle on Sunday. Hight drove the quickest car in three of the four qualifying sessions and in all four elimination rounds in winning his 39th career race.

Hight brings the fastest Funny Car to Norwalk, as he set the national speed record of 339.87 mph in Sonoma. Hight, in fact, owns five of the fastest eight speeds in Funny Car history. He set the Funny Car track speed record at Norwalk in June, with a pass of 334.65 mph in qualifying.

“We’re going to go in early and make some runs, do some testing and try to get even better,” Hight said of Norwalk. “We always look forward to the Night Under Fire. It’s a blast. We’ve been doing it since 1995, and it’s a tradition every year. Last year was the first year it got rained out, so we’re looking for a big show this year.”

In addition to Force and Hight, six other Funny Car drivers will also participate in the event: Ron Capps, Del Worsham, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, Dale Creasy Jr. and Jack Wyatt.

Force and Hight will be a part of an autograph session at the Bud Chalet from 3:15-4:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies are slated to start at 5:30 p.m., with Night Under Fire racing starting at 7 p.m.

The 40th anniversary celebration for the Night Under Fire includes numerous special events. The “Shockwave” jet-engine truck will make a pass to entertain the fans, and several other jet cars will be on hand, too.

Night Under Fire will also feature AA/Gassers and the Nostalgia Drag Racing League.

Plus, the night will be capped off by the renowned Night Under Fire $100,000 fireworks show.