Robert Hight continued his hot start of the season when he recorded his third No. 1 qualifying position in the first five events of 2012. Friday leaders, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Steve Torrence (LEFT) in Top Fuel, retained their No. 1 qualifying positions through Saturday's qualifying efforts.
Hight was outside the 16-car field looking in when he powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang to the top of the field with a run of 4.074 seconds at 317.19 mph during the third round of qualifying. This is his 42nd No.1 qualifying position of his 166-race career.
Hight has won the last three events, and if he continues his winning streak at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, he will become the fourth Funny Car driver to win four in a row joining legends Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, and John Force.
“It was a long night last night. It's not a position that we've been in this year. My car has been running so well, but it was kind of comforting knowing we were on the slow side of it. Jimmy Prock, he has no problems making more power and making it go faster. That's easy for him. If we were on the other side of it where we were fast and having to slow it down, I'd have been really nervous,” said Hight. “I would have a little more confidence if we had more than one run going into eliminations, but we hit it out there again tonight and shook. It was slow, so Jimmy will fix it tomorrow. We definitely have to get on the other side of it and make the thing faster, and if you do that, I have a good feeling this Auto Club car could be low e.t. every round, just like it was the first run today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Four wide is exciting.”
In the four-wide format of eliminations Hight will face the No. 16 qualifier Jeff Arend, the No. 8 qualifier Bob Tasca III, and the No. 9 qualifier Tim Wilkerson.
The 6.493-second pass at 213.91 mph Line recorded on Friday in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP held up during the final two rounds of qualifying to help secure his second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position and the third of the season. It is the 26th No. 1 of his career and this is the fourth time he has held the top qualifying position at zMAX Dragway.
“I get along with this track in qualifying, but no so much on race day. Today was not a great day. I got timed out on one round, but anytime you qualify No. 1, it's great,” said Line. “I made a nice run on Q4, when I got timed out; in fact, it might have been the first 214-mph run, but we'll never know. I got a little confused up there and didn't realize which light I should have been looking at. Thankfully, it happened today instead of the first round tomorrow. That's the only way you can look at it.”
Line will compete against the No. 16 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr., the No. 8 qualifier Ronnie Humphrey, and the No. 9 qualifier Rodger Brogdon.
Torrence maintained the top spot with the 3.799-second pass at 322.34 mph he recorded during the second qualifying session on Friday. This is the first No. 1 qualifying position of Torrence's career in his newly built Torrence Racing/Capco Contractors team. Torrence is a second-generation NHRA racer and a NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster champion.
“This is a blast. Any time you're No. 1 at anything is great. This is a new team. I'm real happy to get that No. 1 spot, the first of my career. That just goes to show the hard work and dedication that the guys have put in,” said Torrence. “We've really strived to put together a top-notch team, and I think it's beginning to show a little bit of what we're capable of. I really felt confident that .79 would stay where it was at being as it was warmer today, and those conditions last night were really good. It gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow that I've got a good race car, and tomorrow e.t.s don't matter; it's all about the win light.”
When eliminations take place on Sunday, Torrence will be pitted against Pat Dakin, who qualified 16th; Bob Vandergriff Jr., who qualified No. 8; and Clay Millican, who is in the ninth position.