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CHICAGO -- This weekend, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Chicago, Ill. for the 13th Annual United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Coming off three wins in a row, Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car, looks to continue that streak in the Windy City.
Q. CONGRATS ON THE GREAT RUN YOU HAVE GOING RIGHT NOW.
A. Thank you, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s hard to believe how quick you can turn one of these things around and that’s what kind of scares me… it could also turn around the other way. We have got to stay focused and work hard and not get complacent.
Q. LAST YEAR YOU STRUGGLED ALL SEASON UNTIL INDIANPOLIS WHEN YOU TURNED YOUR SEASON AROUND. WHAT’S IT LIKE NOW TO START THE WINNING EARLY ON AND WIN THREE RACES IN A ROW?
A. It’s the way I wanted to do it. I talked about that in the beginning of the season. I want to win the next championship to where you’re not using the Countdown to your benefit. I want to be in the ballgame all year long, win a lot of races, and be in a dominant fashion like John Force used to be. Anymore, that’s tough to do in the Funny Car Class. The racing is so close. Right now, as good as we’re running, we probably only have two or three hundredths of a second advantage on the next guy. That’s not enough. You could win or lose right on the starting line. It gives us a little time here where we could maybe do a little testing. We’ve even thought about maybe putting some of these parts, and things that are variables and things that can really change your program, maybe putting them aside for the Countdown, because we know how good they are. We want to do some testing now so we know when we get to the Countdown we have the best possible combination.
Q. YOUR CREW CHIEF JIMMY PROCK HAS BEEN MAKING GREAT CALLS AND CHANGES SO FAR THIS SEASON. HAVE YOU NOTICED A BIG CHANGE IN HIM AT ALL?
A. Yes I do. When Jimmy is confident you can definitely see it in his eyes. He’s not going back to the box and making a bunch of changes. He just wants to know what the latest conditions are. He wants to know what the track temperature is and then he makes a run and makes his last change. It’s working unbelievable. In the past, Jimmy Prock has been known for big horsepower and when the conditions are good, throw down and go for the throat. Well, right now, it gives me a lot of confidence that we’re running within a couple hundredths of a second from run to run to run, 120 degree plus race track. That gives you a lot of confidence because that’s hard to do. There are so many variables in these cars, but Jimmy Prock definitely has it going on right now and what’s good is that all of our teams work together. When we come out of this we’re going to have three quick Ford Mustangs going into that Countdown and I like our chances.
Q. THE THREE JOHN FORCE MUSTANGS HAVE BEEN VERY CONSISTENT ALL SEASON AND ARE CURRENTLY DOMINATING THE POINT STANDINGS SITTING IN FIRST, SECOND AND FOURTH PLACE. CAN YOU PUT YOUR FINGER ON WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE TEAM?
A. I believe it’s a combination of a lot of things. One, John Force making changes by putting Mike Neff over there with Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly has just been a great combination. John’s driving better because his car is better. He’s dreaming that he can go out there and win every race he goes to and win this championship, and he’s right. We also cut back a team and maybe we’re not spread as thin as we used to be and mainly that’s John. He was out there trying to watch all of his cars run and he was trying to secure funding for another car and it was probably draining. We’ve got our same people intact and we put them all together and they’re all working together and it’s working great right now. I wouldn’t want to change anything. The way John Force Racing works is we do share data and we do try to help each other and it’s one team. Everyone asks me if I can win four in a row, but to me we already have won four in a row because if you go back the last four races we have won them starting with John winning Las Vegas and me winning the next three. If Ashley wins this weekend it’s going to be five in a row. That’s how I really look at it.
Q. HOW DO YOU FEEL HEADING INTO CHICAGO THIS WEEKEND?
A. The long range forecast looks pretty good. In fact it’s going to be great conditions. That’s a great race track and it’s one where you can really throw down and flex your muscles and make some horsepower, so I think we’re going to be able to do that. I don’t like my chances as well when it’s like that because we have been dominant under the hot, gooey, sticky tracks. That’s what we need to continue with, but to win a championship you need to be able to race and win under any and all conditions. Even in the Countdown, it’s going to be the fall, but it’s not going to be great conditions at every race track. Everywhere you go you have the same conditions as your competitors you just have to do a better job than the rest of them.
Q. WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHANGING TRACK CONDITIONS YOU REALLY HAVE TO RELY ON YOUR TEAM.
A. That’s exactly it. Two years ago in 2008 we were at the final race of the year, me and Cruz Pedregon all racing for the championship, and it was 90 degrees. That’s when we had the bad fires out there. Jimmy Prock, I’m not that worried about him when it’s cool, I know that he can make a lot of horsepower and make that thing fast. At times we’ve struggled when it’s hot, but the last three races have been hot tracks and we’ve just done an outstanding job. The rest of the guys aren’t standing still, they’re going to work and they’re going to try and catch us. We have to continue to get better, and I like our chances here in the next few months with the chances to be able to test a little bit and try new things. Maybe we’ll stumble onto something a little bit quicker and faster for that Countdown, because we’re going to be looking for everything, I promise.