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John Force Drag Racing News

Pre-Race Package for the 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals


February 17-19, 2012
Firebird International Raceway
Phoenix, Ariz.

Second event in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.



PHOENIX, AZ (February 14, 2012) — Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team have been picked by a number of media outlets and experts as one of the odds on favorites to win the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship. Their performance in West Palm Beach, Florida testing further impressed experts as they consistently posted the quickest and fastest times. At the season opening O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals they qualified No. 1, a feat they had accomplished twice before at the first race and 40 times in Hight’s career.

Unfortunately, all the predictions, accolades and qualifying success added up to a surprising first round loss and a 9th place position in the Full Throttle Funny Car point standing heading into the NHRA Arizona Nationals this weekend at Firebird International Raceway.

“We didn’t get the job done in Pomona. We got behind the eight ball on Thursday when we broke a blower shaft. Then on Friday we were weak on our tune-up and smoked the tires. We made a great run on Saturday in killer conditions but the rains came in and we didn’t get a fourth run. Then Sunday morning we smoke the tires in the first round and we were done,” said Hight, a three-time Winternationals winner.

“The only positive I take away from last weekend was our run on Saturday and the fact that we got two JFR Mustangs into the final round to guarantee we started the season with one of my teammates winning the race. We are 1-2 in the points with John (Force) and Mike (Neff) at the top,” said the perennial championship contender. “I have raced well at Phoenix but never won and I want to change that this weekend. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) and I will have the Auto Club Ford Mustang ready to go. I am so glad to be going back to a race track this weekend. If they told me they were starting qualifying tomorrow I would be out there with my guys. We are going to put Pomona behind us and move forward.”

Hight is a two-time finalist at Firebird International Raceway dropping races to Tony Pedregon in 2007 and Jack Beckman in 2008. Getting his first win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals would keep a number of streaks alive for Hight and start a new, very important streak for the former crewman turned driver. Hight has won multiple races every year he has raced going back to his rookie season of 2005 plus he has led the points every year. After seeing his boss and team leader introduced in the winner’s circle as the first qualified driver for the inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the $100,000 to win race within a race at the Mac Tools US Nationals, Hight wants to race his way into that event.

“I am not putting pressure on myself or my team but we definitely want to wrap up a spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout sooner rather than later. The first seven drivers to win a race are guaranteed a slot and trust me there are way more than seven drivers out here that can win,” said Hight. “John got the first slot last weekend and I want to get my name up there beside his.”

Before the elimination rounds last Sunday Hight and the rest of the Ford Racing NHRA Funny Car competitors posed for a photo with Director of Ford Racing Jamie Allison and Ford executive Henry Ford III. The photo celebrated Ford winning the 2011 Manufacturer’s Cup for NHRA. Being around the Ford Racing executives as well as his fellow Ford Racing teammates made Hight aware of the strength of the Funny Car category.

“You look at how strong the Funny Car class is this season and you know you better bring your “A” game to the starting line every pass. There are new drivers coming up with Courtney Force and Alexis DeJoria and the drivers that just missed out on the championship last year like Neff, (Jack) Beckman, (Ron) Capps, myself, Bob Tasca (III), and Cruz (Pedregon). Those are some hitters plus you add in drivers that have won championships like Force, Tony (Pedregon), and (Matt) Hagan. That’s more than enough drivers to fill the Countdown and I haven’t even mentioned guys like Tim Wilkerson and Jeff Arend who can step up any weekend and beat you. This is going to be an exciting season and with the right conditions this weekend in Phoenix you could see some great times.”

“I know this Auto Club team will be ready,” concluded Hight.

TEAM JFR Winternationals Race Results on the next page…

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