Hight stays hot at Englistown
Funny Car driver Robert Hight stayed hot on Friday with a 4.025-second pass at 313.00 mph to earn the provisional Funny Car pole at the 41st annual NHRA Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 11th of 23 races in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
The No. 1 qualifier would be the third in a row for Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team and fifth overall this season. Hight, the defending NHRA Full Throttle Series champion, has also been to four straight final rounds – winning three times – to assume the points lead in Funny Car.
"Where was that 4.02 in the final last week in Chicago," said Hight, whose three-race winning streak was snapped by Matt Hagan last week. "I didn't talk to (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) much before the run. I didn't know what he was gonna try to run. Then when we ran that 4.02, I knew (Matt) Hagan was more than capable of making a better run or maybe Ashley (Force Hood). A little surprised it held up.
"I used to come here for the Wednesday match races with John's car and it was always a lot of fun. Tonight reminded me a lot of that," Hight said.
McClenathan secured the provisional No. 1 in the FRAM dragster with the quickest and second-fastest run since NHRA moved to 1000-foot racing two years ago, a 3.752-second pass at 324.75 mph. He also set both ends of the track record.
"We've been working with IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) and those kids are just unbelievable when it comes to aerodynamics and how chassis should work," McClenathan said. "We've been working close with them and they were a big part of some configurations we've used. This car is basically set up the way they'd like to see it go in the future, especially when it comes to aerodynamics."
"We're testing some things on the car this weekend on different parts of the car to see what the air does – especially in front of the injector and behind the driver – and I think it's definitely part of what makes this car go quicker," McClenathan said.
In Pro Stock, defending NHRA Full Throttle Series champion Edwards set track records for e.t. and speed with his 6.513-second pass at 211.49 mph in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP. This would be Edwards' NHRA-leading ninth No. 1 this season.
"Any time you get conditions like this and the track is just awesome, you can make a good run like that," said Edwards, the first driver to clinch a berth in the Countdown to 1. "We just swung for the fences and got away with one."
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Michael Phillips set track records for e.t. and speed with a 6.855-second pass at 197.16 mph aboard the Phillips Racing Suzuki. If he maintains his position, it would be the first No. 1 qualifier of his career in his 160th career race.
"I was expecting about a 6.86, but it snapped me pretty good off the line and when I grabbed second gear I said, ‘Man, this thing's hauling,' and when I got to third it was, ‘Oooh, this thing is going fast.' I tucked in pretty tight and made sure my head was out of the wind. I knew it was a good run," Phillips said.
Qualifying at the NHRA SuperNationals concludes with the third and fourth sessions on Saturday when the fields will be set for Sunday's final eliminations.