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DEARBORN -- Last weekend, Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car and the defending NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion, won his first race of the 2010 NHRA season at the AAA NHRA Nationals in St. Louis. Hight talks about getting that initial win of 2010 behind him and how winning this season is different than last season.
Q. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST WIN IN ST. LOUIS AS THE DEFENDING CHAMP?
A. I’m glad we got a win earlier this year than we did last year. I’ve said all along this year, that the next championship I get I want it to be when I have been in the ballgame all year long. Not just squeak into the Countdown and use the Countdown to our advantage like we did last year, although, that wouldn’t be a bad way to do it. I just think it’s going to be hard to ever do that again. I want to be like John [Force] and win some championships where you’re dominant and you’re near the top all year long and you’re a hitter at every race. To win the Inaugural AAA Nationals for my sponsor, and make it five for seven for Ford in NHRA, that’s big. I’ve been saying it all year. My car is so close to John’s. They’ve duplicated over the winter to make John’s like mine. We’ve just had some gremlins, but I think we’ve fought those off and we’re back now. Along with Tasca and Wilkerson and our three Ford Mustangs, it’s going to be fun the rest of the year and we’re going to all be near the top.
Q. IS IT DIFFERENT WINNING A RACE NOW THAN IT WAS A YEAR AGO?
A. Probably so, because after winning the championship, you have such high hopes of winning another one. You get greedy. It’s like you first just want to qualify, then you want to win a round, well now you want to win a couple rounds, then you want to win a race and then you want to win a championship. Well, now you want to win more. The next goal is to win another championship, and defend our championship. Winning a race now is probably more special, and in all honesty, the way our car ran at the beginning of the year it was hard to feel like a champion. We were struggling. It probably is a little different now and it really proves that we are champions.
Q. ARE YOU BACK TO WHERE YOU WERE AT THE END OF THE LAST YEAR?
A. Yes, and you can see it with Jimmy Prock, my crew chief. He has some confidence. I feel like we’re going to be strong during the stretch that is coming up. We have a lot of races in a row here, and if we can carry that momentum running we’ll be right near the top.
Q. YOU QUALIFIED NINTH IN ST. LOUIS, SO THAT REALLY SHOWS YOU CAN BE ANYWHERE AND WIN.
A. That’s right. John won in Las Vegas from the bottom half of the ladder. We had to race him first round, I had lane choice, but in St. Louis the right lane was a tricky lane, so lane choice was a big deal. I didn’t have lane choice first round, nor did I have it second round against John, but we ran low ET of the race second round. Jimmy Prock just got it all together, and put it together at the right time. We ended up staying in that lane the rest of the day. I was wondering if we were making a mistake by not putting Ron Capps in the other lane when we had lane choice over him in the semis, but Jimmy really believed that our best chance of winning was in that lane. It was a close race, but we got him.