Robert Hight takes AAA Texas Chevrolet
to Houston final round
Photo credit: Ron Lewis Photography
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 23) – The way his AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car was running during the NHRA SpringNationals this weekend at Royal Purple Raceway, Robert Hight had his sights set on raising the Wally at the end of the race.
He fell one round victory short.
Hight raced to the final round Sunday before falling to Ron Capps after his AAA Texas Chevy drifted right and across the centerline as it approached the finish.
“I thought this was the day we were going to get our win and get in the Traxxas Shootout,” Hight said. “The good news is we’re racing in just about six days. We’re back at it again. That’s what you like this time of year, to get going.
“We’ve got a good car. We’re not searching for a combination or anything like that. We’ve got to go put four runs together on Sunday and hold the Wally.”
Hight hadn’t been to a final round since winning in Gainesville, Fla., last year. But a recent crew swap at John Force Racing brought crew chief Jimmy Prock and co-crew chief Chris Cunningham to Hight’s team, and Prock has turned fortunes around for Hight.
On Saturday, Hight’s Funny Car was fast in both qualifying sessions, building his confidence for Sunday. That speed continued into eliminations, as he was quickest in the first round with a pass of 3.870 seconds at 331.77 mph to take out Jim Campbell.
That speed, by the way, set a track record for Funny Car in Houston.
Hight backed that up with a 3.898-second run at 327.82 mph to beat J.R. Todd in the second round, setting up an all-JFR semifinal against Courtney Force.
Hight won that in-house battle with a pass of 3.908 seconds at 324.98 mph, beating Force’s 3.943-second run at 324.28 mph.
That gave Hight lane choice for the final round against Capps, but misfortune struck.
“For whatever reason, it went out and spun,” Hight said. “Had it in the groove, and everything was going just right. I thought I was far enough down, and I didn’t see Capps, and I tried to drive it spinning. It put two cylinders out on the right side, and whoom, it went over and crossed the centerline. I couldn’t save it.”
Capps exploded his engine just before the finish line, but Hight had already crossed the centerline to disqualify his pass. The numbers: Capps 4.004 at 284.33 mph; Hight 4.107 at 202.88 mph, though Hight’s run was officially recorded as a disqualification.
Hight, of course, wanted to win, but getting to the final round was big for his team.
“It’s huge,” Hight said. “We hadn’t been to a final for a long time. But you get that far, and the car’s running so good, it’s pretty rare that you get a car like this.”
Hight and the team have a quick turnaround, racing at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on April 28-30 at zMax Dragway.