Story By: SARA SLAUGHTER / JOHN FORCE RACING – LAS VEGAS, NV – Robert Hight and his Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS team have waited a long two weeks to get back to the track at this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Just the fourth event out of 22 on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, the Four-Wide Nationals is the first of two events where competitors will line-up four across instead of two.
Hight is off to the best start of his career after winning the season opening Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif. and the Arizona Nationals at Phoenix. Hight went onto secure the No. 1 qualifying position at the most recent Gatornationals in Gainesville. He enters the Vegas Four-Wide as the Funny Car points leader. With his back-to-back wins, Hight extended to 17 the number of seasons in which he has won at least one tour event for Auto Club. That is every season in which he has contested the championship. Hight also has recorded at least one No. 1 start in those 17 seasons.
“It’s been a great start to the season. We’ve been really consistent. Gainesville was tough for everyone and having two weeks off is just brutal,” Hight said. “This Auto Club team, we’re feeling good. We took things back to how we were running in 2019 and it’s paying off. Hopefully that continues and we get some win lights in Vegas.”
Hight has won five times previously at The Strip (2007, 2011 and 2012 in the spring; 2009 and 2015 in the fall), but has not yet raced in a final quad since the spring race went to four-wide in 2018. That said, he has won twice in four-wide competition, hoisting the trophy at Charlotte in 2012 and 2014. At Vega, he has started No. 1 eight times overall, five times in the spring race including last year when he and Brittany both were No. 1. His other No. 1s in this race came in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013. He was No. 1 at the fall race in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
“Four-Wide is really entertaining for the fans. Four cars lined up, the power, the speed. There’s a lot going on but as the driver, I just choose to worry about what I can control. Focus on my tree and run the race,” Hight said. “Sunday, eliminations, you get some help, just have to be top two of the first two rounds and there’s only three rounds. It’s a great weekend to gain some points, build our lead.”
FORCE READY TO GO FOUR-WIDE RACING AT THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS
Heading into the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth event of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, having broken into the top 10 in the points standings, John Force and his PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS team are ready to make-up more ground at the first of two four-wide events on the 2022 tour.
Force had pre-season success at testing at Wild Horse pass Motorsports Park in Arizona but stumbled at the season opening Winternationals. The PEAK / BlueDEF team turned things around back at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the NHRA Arizona Nationals. They would qualify No. 3 and have a semifinals appearance. At a rain-soaked and abnormally cold NHRA Gatornationals, Force and the BlueDEF team would have a quarterfinal finish that, along with some surprising early exits, would jump them into fifth in the points standings.
“It’s been a bit of a wild start to the season. But you, know, this BlueDEF team with Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi, they’ve got a handle on this Chevrolet. We’ll fix it. That’s what it’s all about,” said Force. “We’ve got to get these cars making some noise and winning some rounds, and we will.”
Since the debut of four-wide racing at Charlotte in 2010, no one has won more quads than Force; he has been first to the finish in 12, more than any other Funny Car driver. He also has two overall four-wide race wins. Only Steve Torrence in Top Fuel and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle have more. No one has won more Funny Car races at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, four times in the fall race (2002, 2010, 2013 and 2016) and twice in the spring before it transitioned to four-wide (2010, 2015). Force was also the No. 1 qualifier at the spring race in 2002 and 2011 and at the fall race when he won in 2013.
“Couldn’t get a better place to go four-wide racing. Bruton Smith and his son Marcus, they’ve really created a great show, first at Charlotte and then now at The Strip at Las Vegas,” Force said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the stands packed and getting back into my PEAK Chevy hot rod after these two weeks off. Ready to have some fun and win some rounds for all my sponsors.”
Qualifying at the NHRA Four-Wide NHRA Nationals takes place Friday and Saturday with two sessions at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (PT) on each day. Eliminations are slated to begin at noon on Sunday. Racing action will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and begins with qualifying Friday at 7 p.m. ET and continues Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Eliminations will air Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.