Practice makes perfect? Auto Club driver Robert Hight ready to fight for Funny Car title

 If practice indeed makes perfect, Robert Hight and his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team will be good to go for the Auto Club Finals on Sunday at Auto Club Raceway.
The famed Pomona track proved recalcitrant to the Funny Car points leader through qualifying, and Hight and his team had to sweat through a final-qualifying session pass to secure a spot in the Auto Clun Finals field.
Hight was outside the top 16 heading into Q4, but his Chevrolet Camaro SS made a pass of 4.132 seconds at 236.80 mph – with Hight pedaling – to snare the No. 15 spot.
Now, Hight turns his focus to the championship battle, as he carries an eight-point lead into race day.
“We have a car that can win this thing,” Hight said. “It’s not like we’re lost. We just have to adjust to it and drive good. The stress and everything today is kind of practice for the stress I’m going to have tomorrow, and we got through it. We’ll get through tomorrow, too.”
Hight has two victories during the Countdown to the Championship, taking over the points lead from Ron Capps in the most recent race, in Las Vegas. But Hight and his team struggled in qualifying, as many Funny Car teams did.
But Hight continues to have faith in crew chief Jimmy Prock, co-crew chief Chris Cunningham and his entire team.
“In some ways, you have to forget about where we’re qualified but learn,” Hight said. “We’re learning from each run. It’s going further down the track every run. For whatever reason, the combination we have is very tricky here.”
Hight and Capps should be the drivers battling for the title, and they could meet for a winner-take-all round in the semifinals. Whichever driver goes further Sunday will win the title. If they both fall in the first round, that opens the door for John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force, who would then need to win the race to win the title.
“We live to see another day, man,” Hight said. “We’re in the show; anything can happen. I don’t think lane choice matters. We just have to get our act together tomorrow and race.”
Hight squares off against No. 2 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in the first round. Wilkerson’s best pass was 3.863 seconds at 331.69 mph.
Final eliminations are slated for 11 a.m. Pacific Sunday. Fox Sports 1 will be live for three hours, beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific.
4-Second Reads
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Right Lane): 8.347 seconds/82.85 mph; smoking early and coasts to the finish (No. 16 of session and No. 16 overall; no bonus points in session)
  • Qualifying Round 2 (Left Lane): 7.801 seconds/85.35 mph; car shake and off the throttle (No. 10 of session and No. 17 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • Qualifying Round 3 (Left Lane): 4.399 seconds/270.10 mph; gets 330 feet out and strikes the tires, pedals and gets into the field through his pairing (No. 12 of session and No. 17 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • Qualifying Round 4 (Right Lane): 4.132 seconds/236.80 mph; another run getting 330 feet out, then tires shake, but pedals to end before engine backfires, narrowly getting the car into the field (No. 9 of session and No. 15 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • This is the second race of his career Hight has qualified No. 15. His only other race after qualifying No. 15 came in 2012 at Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
  • Hight’s first-round matchup against Tim Wilkerson marks the 43rd time the two will face each other in elimination-round competition. Hight holds a 23-19 advantage in the previous 42 matchups, including a 3-2 mark in 2017. Hight defeated Wilkerson in the first round of the most recent race at Las Vegas.
  • John Force Racing announced Saturday at Hot Wheels ™ Americana Series™ Car Care Products will become the Official Car Care Products of the championship-winning NHRA drag racing series team, starting this weekend.

John Force Racing PR/Photo Ron Lewis Photography

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