AAA Missouri driver Robert Hight reaches semifinals at Gateway, maintains second in Funny Car standings

Robert Hight took the AAA Missouri Chevrolet to the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals semifinals Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Hight ran into some misfortune in the semis, as he fell in a close race to eventual race runner-up Jonnie Lindberg.
Hight maintained second place in the Funny Car points standings, remaining in the thick of the title hunt as the Countdown to the Championship reached its halfway point.
“It was a good weekend to show off in front of AAA Missouri: No. 1 qualifier,” Hight said. “No matter what, we’re leaving here within striking distance.”
Hight is 46 points behind leader Ron Capps with three races remaining in the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Twenty points are awarded per round victory – with 30 given in the season-finale in Pomona – meaning Hight is a little more than two rounds behind with 12 rounds up for grabs.
Hight won his seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season this weekend, racing Dale Creasy in the first round Sunday. Creasy was told to shut off before his race with Hight, but Hight ripped off a pass of 3.872 seconds at 336.57 mph to get the victory.
That set up a Countdown battle with Matt Hagan, but Hight was up to the task. He left first with a .034-second reaction time and made a run of 3.919 seconds at 330.31 mph to beat Hagan’s 4.253-second run at 216.17 mph.
“We struggled yesterday, and then first round made a nice, solid run,” Hight said. “Second round, got a win against a big competitor. It hurt (cylinder) No. 7, though, so we had a lot of work to do between rounds.”
Hight made it to the starting line in time to face Lindberg, but Hight had trouble at the hit of the throttle.
“It dropped a cylinder, picked it back up at almost a second, but that was enough to kill the run,” Hight said.
As Lindberg made a clean run of 3.898 seconds at 331.20 mph, Hight labored to a 3.943-second pass at 331.20 mph.
Still, Hight remains confident with his AAA team heading to the next race, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Oct. 13-15 at Texas Motorplex.
“It’s not like we’re struggling or searching for a combination,” Hight said. “I feel like we can roll right into Dallas and right off the trailer, qualify No. 1, get three more points, and that’s what we’re going to do. It’s another big AAA race for us, and I’m looking forward to that.”
4-Second Reads:
  • Best Qualifying Effort: 3.830 seconds/333.91 mph (Round 2; Qualified No. 1)
  • Elimination Round 1 (Right Lane): 3.872 seconds/336.57 seconds (RT – .085 seconds), def. No. 16 Dale Creasy Jr., foul (broke); ran a solo after Creasy broke in the lanes, and set fastest speed of session and race day; vs. Creasy – now 6-0 all-time; 3-0 this season; 2-0 at St. Louis
  • Elimination Round 2 (Quarterfinals, Right Lane): 3.919 seconds/330.31 mph (RT – .034 seconds), def. No. 8 Matt Hagan, 4.253 seconds/216.17 mph (RT – .057 seconds); led the entire way, despite making a move toward the wall near the end of the run, while Hagan lost a cylinder early; vs. Hagan – now 11-15 all-time; 2-0 this season; 1-0 at St. Louis
  • Elimination Round 3 (Semifinals, Right Lane): 3.943 seconds/331.20 mph (RT – .089 seconds), lost to No. 5 Jonnie Lindberg, 3.898 seconds/331.20 mph (RT – .054 seconds); dropped a cylinder at the throttle but picked it back up and went right down the middle but couldn’t catch Lindberg, who was out of the gate first; vs. Lindberg – now 0-2 all-time; 0-2 this season; 0-1 at St. Louis
  • Now 409-255 (664 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds in career (.616)
  • Now 92-48 (140 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds after qualifying No. 1 (.657)
  • Now 13-11 (24 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds at St. Louis (.542)
  • Now 36-18 (54 rounds) this season in elimination rounds (.667)
  • Funny Car Points Standings: 1. Ron Capps 2395; 2. Robert Hight 2349; 3. Courtney Force 2287; 4. Matt Hagan 2238; 5. Jack Beckman 2228; 6. John Force 2197.

John Force Racing PR/Photo Ron Lewis Photography

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