Nov 2 , 2015

John Force Racing team Report:

ROBERT HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB WIN IN LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS ---- Robert Hight raced to his second win of 2015 at the 15th annual Toyota NHRA Nationals today at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The No. 3 qualifier dispatched Gary Densham, Del Worsham, Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. on the way to his 36th career Funny Car win in the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. Hight’s winning elapsed time of 3.955 seconds was the second quickest run of the day and his third three second run of race day.

“It’s good to be in Las Vegas. Seeing the stands so full here on Saturday and Sunday we all know drag racing is still alive thanks to you fans. Auto Club pays me to win races, and luckily we got the job done today. This hasn’t been the season that we have been looking for with the Auto Club Chevy. We have been working hard and it is coming together,” said Hight from the Las Vegas winner’s circle stage. “This has been a tough week for John Force Racing. Our Monster Energy rig crashed in Missouri on the way here. The whole John Force Racing team pulled together got that Monster rig here. That was a big win. This is just a bonus.”

The win moves the former crewman turned Funny Car driver into sole possession of 4th place on the all-time Funny Car win list. Before today’s win he was tied with Don Prudhomme and Cruz Pedregon. He only trails John Force (143), Ron Capps (44), and Tony Pedregon (43).

“The first runs I ever made in a Funny Car were right here at this race track. To have my name up there (with NHRA legends Don Prudhomme and Cruz Pedregon) shows what kind of team John Force has put together. That includes so many of the crew chiefs we’ve had. Guys like Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, Jimmy Prock and Mike Neff. I’m really proud and really lucky. We want to end this season on a high note. It bums us out that we aren’t part of this championship. I promise you we won’t be in this position next year,” added Hight, who want the runner-up at the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals here in April.

Hight has four previous wins at The Strip (Toyota Nationals, 2009; Summitracing.com Nationals, 2007, 2011, and 2012). This win moves Robert into a second place tie with Matt Hagan for most Funny Car wins in Countdown events with seven. Cruz Pedregon has won eight times in the Countdown.

This is Robert Hight’s second consecutive final round at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He lost the spring race to teammate John Force earlier this year. The win moves Hight up to No. 6 in Mello Yello point standings.

“This has been a good weekend. We made a lot of good runs. When you say it’s our second win of the season, it’s kind of depressing. We expect better than that. We’ve been working hard all year, and it’s starting to come together. We love coming to Vegas. Seeing these stands the way they were Saturday, it’s amazing. That makes me really proud. Drag racing is really doing what it’s supposed to be doing. NHRA is doing a lot with new packages and other things. It’s only going to get better in the future,” said Hight.

Robert Hight is now 13-6 versus Tommy Johnson Jr. and 2-0 in final rounds. He defeated Johnson Jr. earlier this season in Brainerd. Hight has won at least two races every season he has competed professionally going back to his rookie season in 2005. This was the 241st Funny Car win for John Force Racing.

In the first round Robert Hight took out Gary Densham for the 13th time in a row continuing his dominance over the veteran driver. The former teammates have raced each other thirteen times and Hight illuminated the win light every time. Hight’s winning time of 4.035 seconds was not enough to give him lane choice in the second round against Del Worsham.

“This class is really tough. We ran a 4.03 in the first round and that wasn’t a good run. We weren’t really happy with that. I’m thinking that was a lucky round for us. After that we had three-second runs and were right where we needed to be,” added Hight. “In the final, we knew we had a tough match-up with Tommy Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier. Luckily it went our way. It was exciting. We love it in Las Vegas. John beat me here in the spring, and it’s bugged me since then! But it’s good to get back to Winner’s Circle in Vegas.”

Hight and Worsham rolled up to the starting line knowing that the driver in the No. 2 spot in point was out of the race and Hight was determined have an impact on keeping the Funny car championship in play heading to the Auto Club Finals in two weeks. The Auto Club Chevy Camaro took a miniscule starting line advantage in the left lane but he raced to victory with a winning time of 3.983 seconds beside Worsham’s 3.994 second run.

Hight faced second generation driver Chad Head in the semi-finals. It was Hight’s eighth trip to the semi-finals this season and first of the Countdown to the championship this season. He took the win light with his second three second run of the day 3.971 to 4.035 seconds.

John Force and the EiKO Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car were upset in the first round by rising star Alexis DeJoria. Force was the No. 8 qualifier but he had to pedal his 10,000 horsepower at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was not able to double with wins this season at the track located half an hour north of Las Vegas. Force crossed the finish line with a losing time of 4.267 seconds against DeJoria’s 4.004 second time. The early finish for Force also mathematically eliminated the 16-time Funny Car champion from winning his 17th Mello Yello Funny Car title. Force had previously defeated DeJoria the last four times the pair had raced including all three times in 2015.

“This is a good win for JFR especially for all our sponsors like Auto Club, Chevrolet, Peak, Traxxas, Monster, Lucas Oil and Mac Tools. It is a real shot in the arm for Robert who needed wins. In the big picture our game plan in coming together. We aren’t where we want to be but Robert moved up to 6th in points. We are back in the ballgame,” said Force.

Today Courtney Force, driver of the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, lined up beside competitor Paul Lee in the opening round of eliminations and made the quickest and fastest pass of the session with a 3.952 ET at 325.53 mph, securing the round win and advancing to the quarterfinals.

Force went right down the groove with an impressive pass on Friday to claim the No. 2 qualifying position with a 3.933 ET at 325.77 mph. It was the quickest of her career and a new track record.

“I’m really proud of my team this weekend. I feel like we finally have our race car back. Being able to say that we were No. 2 qualifier this weekend running my career-best 3.933 was awesome. We had the track record for the time being,” said Force.

Going into race day Force was 1-1 against Lee, but took the lead after her solid pass. This is the third time Force has met Lee in eliminations and each time has been at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas.

“We got the first round win over Paul Lee. He definitely gave us a run for our money. He ran a 4.00 and was right out my window. We had the quickest car of the session with that 3.952,” said Force.

In the second round, Force posted a 4.094 ET at 308.85 mph next to Chad Head’s winning 4.012 at 314.75 mph.

“The second round didn’t go as we had planned. We dropped a hole and it slowed us down right there at the end. It felt good to be in the seat of this car this weekend and we’re looking forward to Pomona. We’ve got nothing to be upset about this weekend. We’re motivated and pumped up,” said Force.

The Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster continued to have issues at The Strip dropping a tough race against Dave Connolly in the first round. Brittany Force hit the throttle and her dragster immediately over powered the track and smoked the tires as it launched. Force tried to pedal the Monster Energy dragster but she was unable to chase down Connolly who got the win light with a 3.777 second run in front of Force’s 6.076 seconds.

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MELLO YELLO CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

FUNNY CAR – 1. Del Worsham, 2545; 2. Jack Beckman, 2507; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr, 2448; 4. Ron Capps, 2405; 5. Matt Hagan, 2361; 6. Robert Hight, Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2314; 7. John Force, EiKO Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2300; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 2260; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 2233; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2227; 11. Courtney Force, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, 1069

TOP FUEL – 1. Antron Brown, 2588; 2. Tony Schumacher, 2426; 3. Larry Dixon, 2372; 4. Richie Crampton, 2356; 5. Brittany Force, Monster Energy dragster, 2331; 6. Doug Kalitta, 2316; 7. Steve Torrence, 2289; 8. Shawn Langdon, 2275; 9. Dave Connolly, 2271; 10. JR Todd, 2249

PRO STOCK – 1. Erica Enders, 2611; 2. Greg Anderson, 2409; 3. Chris McGaha, 2389; 4. Drew Skillman, 2374; 5. Allen Johnson, 2331; 6. Larry Morgan, 2324; 7. Jason Line, 2298; 8. Vincent Nobile, 2293; 9. Jonathan Gray, 2252; 10. Shane Gray, 2236

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - 1. Andrew Hines, 2534; 2. Jerry Savoie, 2488; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 2451; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 2363; 5. Chip Ellis, 2337; 6. Matt Smith, 2329; 7. Karen Stoffer, 2314; 8. Hector Arana, 2291; 9. Jim Underdahl, 2189; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, 2160

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