John Force Racing's Robert Hight has all but secured his maiden NHRA Funny Car Championship after securing victory in the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals today.
The win puts Hight 105 points clear of his nearest rival, team-mate Ashley Force Hood, with only one event remaining in the 2009 Full Throttle NHRA Drag Racing Series season at Ponoma.
Hight all but locked up his first NHRA Funny Car title when he drove past Force Hood, who remains second in the points standings, in the opening round of eliminations
Hight couldn't have scripted his Las Vegas outing any better. His Auto Club-backed Mustang was the class of the Funny Car field on today, running a low elapsed time during every round. In the final, Hight powered to a 4.125 second pass to edge Jack Beckman by .012-second for the win.
Today's win is the third of the season for Hight, all of which have come during the Countdown to 1 playoffs, and the 14th of his career.
“To have a 105-point lead going into Pomona, it gives you a lot of confidence, but it's still not over,” said Hight.
“You hate to make predictions, but back when we didn't qualify in Bristol, I said, ‘This car is too good. This team is too good, and we will still contend for the championship.'
“We weren't even in the top 10 (two months ago), and you wonder when you say that, you know, ‘Ah, those predictions will come back and bite you.' But anything can happen. We could not qualify in Pomona, and that could be it. But with the way my car is running right now, I'm very confident, and I just know we can go out there and qualify and seal this deal up.”
The battle for the NHRA Top Fuel title appears certain to go down to the wire in Pomona with just one point separating leader Tony Schumacher and second-place Larry Dixon entering the final event in two weeks time.