For Auto Club Funny Car driver Robert Hight the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals is always one of the season’s highlight races. Hight recognizes the importance of the event because of the on-track history as well as the pre-race events including the Hall of Fame inductions hosted by “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.
“You just get excited coming to the Gatornationals. There is so much history starting with Don Garlits’ Hall of Fame event and then at the races you see a lot of important racers from over the year,” said Hight. “We spent some time after Phoenix testing so I feel good coming into Gainesville.”
In 2017, the reigning Funny Car champion was ousted in the second round by eventual finalist Jonnie Lindberg but the three time Gatornationals winner has renewed his focus on a dominant performance for the whole season.
“Last year we got teamed back together with crew chief Jimmy Prock and we have been working towards a dominant tune-up,” added Hight. “We got it figured out last summer and won the championship. This year I want to dominate the whole season and win another championship. I have a lot of confidence in this Auto Club team and really the whole John Force Racing team. It was good to see Courtney get a win in Arizona.”
Hight raced to the final round of the Winternationals to start the 2018 season but at the Arizona Nationals the two-time world champion’s team could not get a handle on his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. The team spent a day in Phoenix working on their tune up and the three-time Gatornationals winner is encouraged by the progress.
Hight will also be promoting Chevrolet and GMC at a free fan meet and greet at Gainesville Buick GMC, part of the Morgan Auto Group, on Friday, March 16, from 9:30-10:30 a.m.. The dealership is providing vehicles for 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, 2017 NHRA Funny Car champion Hight, 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion Brittany Force and Courtney Force, the winningest female in NHRA Funny Car history. Hight will be joined at the dealership by teammate Brittany Force.
“Chevy has been a great partner and being able to spend some time at a local dealership is really important,” added Hight. “You see a lot of the safety technology from these 10,000 horsepower Camaro Funny Cars moving over to passenger cars and trucks. It is always great to spend time with fans before the races, too.”
Qualifying at the NHRA Gatornationals starts Friday with sessions at 2 and 5:45 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Eliminations will begin at 11 a.m.
JFR PR/Photo Credit: Ron Lewis