Robert Hight (ABOVE) raced to his third consecutive Funny Car victory of the season Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Hight earned his 26th career victory with a final round performance of 4.154 at 312.93 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang to defeat Bob Tasca III, who trailed with a 4.213 at 292.14 in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang. It is the second time Hight has won three races in a row.
“This class and the parity has never been this close,” said Hight, who took the series points lead with the win. “It is exciting, and it makes winning three in a row all the more special. It is harder to start a streak than keep it going. It is not that easy to win out here. Most of the time when you lose out here, you beat yourself. There are no underdogs.”
Hight, who became the first Funny Car driver to win this event from the No. 1 qualifying position, beat Terry Haddock, Gary Densham and Bob Bode in earlier rounds.
“I am very pleased because we go to Gainesville in crusher conditions and we were able to run good,” Hight said. “This is the hottest track we have been on all year, and we were almost flawless, We were one little adjustment away from making eight great runs in the top two every round. [Crew Chief] Jimmy Prock, you can just see it when you are in the car, and he is not having a hundred trips to the box. You just see the confidence in his eyes, and that gives you more confidence. You just go up there and cut a light and hopefully see that win light.”
In Top Fuel, Massey edged teammate Antron Brown at the finish line for his second victory of the season and the eighth of his career. Massey finished in 3.830 at 323.89 in his FRAM dragster, while Brown trailed with a 3.849 at 315.86 in his Matco Tools dragster.
“Don [Schumacher, team owner] is always happy whenever we have two cars in the final round, but there's one thing that's most important for me and that's getting the FRAM filters car in the winner's circle,” Massey said. “We go up there not really thinking about who we are going to be running. We got up there trying to not beat ourselves. That's what our game plan was all day long. We're not going to go out there and try and set low e.t. We're going to go out there and try and not beat ourselves.”
Massey, who qualified second, outran Steven Chrisman, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence in the first three rounds to advance to the final. Massey moved to third in the point standings with the win. Runner-up Brown took the series lead. Top qualifier Morgan Lucas remained in second with his semifinal effort.
“This year it seems like everybody has really stepped up tremendously,” Massey said. “You look through the Lucas cars, the Al-Anabi cars, these DSR cars, and even the newcomers, like Steve Torrence, who has this new team this year, and everybody is running extremely strong. It's like Pro Stock racing. It's like running a bracket race. You have to go up there and cut your Tree and do flawless on the run. You have to count every thousandth of a second. Back 10 years ago, it was almost hundredths of a second or by a tenth of a second, but now it's that close, and it makes for that much better of a race.”
In Pro Stock, Johnson claimed his first win of the season and 10th of his career by outrunning Vincent Nobile in the final round. In an all-Dodge final, Johnson pulled away with a 6.648 at 207.30 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger while Nobile's Mountain View Tire Avenger slowed with a 6.738 at 207.53.
“The Mopar Dodge Avenger was just really rock solid all day long, and that's what we're after this year, and we'll be something to reckon with for the championship if we just can be consistent,” said Johnson, who beat Shane Gray, series points leader Greg Anderson and Erica Enders in the opening rounds. “We're right there with them [Greg Anderson, Jason Line, and Mike Edwards], if not a little bit ahead of them by a little bit. And we want to keep it that way. Dad [Roy Johnson] is doing a great job with the Hemis, and Mark [Ingersoll] and Jim [Yates] are doing a great job with the new chassis. And we don't want to make any boo-boos and remain consistent. That's our goal for this year.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues April 13-15 with the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte, N.C.
1. Spencer Massey; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Morgan Lucas; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. David Grubnic; 7. Terry McMillen; 8. Doug Kalitta; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Brandon Bernstein; 11. Bob Vandergriff; 12. Clay Millican; 13. Khalid alBalooshi; 14. Steve Faria; 15. Steven Chrisman; 16. Troy Buff.
1. Robert Hight; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. Bob Bode; 4. Cruz Pedregon; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Gary Densham; 7. Matt Hagan; 8. Johnny Gray; 9. Jeff Arend; 10. Alexis DeJoria; 11. Mike Neff; 12. John Force; 13. Terry Haddock; 14. Courtney Force; 15. Tony Pedregon; 16. Tim Wilkerson.
1. Allen Johnson; 2. Vincent Nobile; 3. Greg Stanfield; 4. Erica Enders; 5. Jason Line; 6. Greg Anderson; 7. Ron Krisher; 8. Larry Morgan; 9. Ronnie Humphrey; 10. Mike Edwards; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Jeg Coughlin; 13. Shane Gray; 14. Rodger Brogdon; 15. Kurt Johnson; 16. V. Gaines.