Robert Hight Looks For Repeat At NHRA Arizona Nationals; John Force Hopes To Make History
Story By: SARA SLAUGHTER / JOHN FORCE RACING – CHANDLER AZ – Robert Hight returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, the second event of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, as the defending race champion in the Flav-R-Pac / Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Last year’s win over Matt Hagan in the finals was Hight’s second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The other came in 2012 when he beat then-teammate Mike Neff in an all-John Force Racing final round. Hight has also been runner-up in Arizona in 2007, 2008, and 2014 and was the No. 1 qualifier in 2007 and 2019. He earned the No. 1 spot in 2007 with a time of 4.636 seconds which remains the quickest run ever at the quarter-mile distance at which races were contested until July of 2008.
“I feel good coming into Arizona this weekend. This Flav-R-Pac team is getting settled in and getting back into our groove. We were getting back to it there at the Gatornationals, but it just wasn’t our weekend,” Hight said. “We’ll pick right back up and get the job done at Wild Horse Pass. I’ve done well here, know that helps. Hopefully, we’ll qualify well and have a long race day. Would really like to get this Flav-R-Pac Funny Car in the winners circle with Brittany’s Flav-R-Pac dragster.”
A mechanical issue plagued the Flav-R-Pac Camaro at the season-opening Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, handing Hight a quarterfinal finish after starting the day as the No. 3 qualifier. The Flav-R-Pac / Cornwell Tools / AAA team will enter the Arizona Nationals looking for a jump from their No. 8 points standing position.
JOHN FORCE AND BLUEDEF HOPE TO MAKE MORE HISTORY AT WILD HORSE PASS
John Force and his BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS team head to the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with history on their side as the sixteen-time champion hopes to close out the track’s final event with a victory.
Force’s eight wins at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2005) are three more than anyone else in any professional category. From 1994 through 2002, Force was in the final every year except 1998 and in addition to his eight wins, he has been runner-up six times, most recently in 2016. Force’s history at the track started at the beginning, he participated in the first race ever run at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird Raceway) in 1985. Later that same year, he was runner-up to John Collins in the track’s first official NHRA national event.
“I’ve loved racing in Arizona at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. I’ve got a lot of memories there, a lot of success,” Force said. “Never want to see a racetrack go, we’ll see what happens, but me and my team, we’re hoping to bring this chapter to a close with a win. I want to get this BlueDEF Chevrolet in the winners circle, just like I do every weekend. Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi and my guys, they’ve been working hard, I’ve got to step it up to keep up but we’ll get the job done.”
The BlueDEF Chevrolet came up short in the quarterfinals of the season-opening Gatornationals, but a solid qualifying effort that had them No. 2 to start race day earned them seven total bonus points to put Force fifth in the championship points standings.
The NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park kicks off with qualifying Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Race Day is set to begin with the first round of eliminations Sunday at 11 a.m. Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) beginning with a qualifying show Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at noon ET. Eliminations will air Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.