GAINESVILLE, FL (March 11, 2020) – Recharged and motivated as ever, three-time and reigning Funny Car world champion Robert Hight and his Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS team are ready to go back-to-back at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Hungry for their first win of the season, Hight and his Auto Club team head to this year’s Gatornationals in a much different position than year’s past. After a successful pre-season test session that had the Auto Club crew looking like they were going to continue their class domination for a fourth year, the first two races of the season have not gone exactly as planned. They qualified third at the season-opening Winternationals, where Hight was the defending event winner, and had a quarterfinal finish. At the Arizona Nationals, the Auto Club team was again in the upper echelon of the Funny Car class at No. 3 but had a first-round exit.
“I know what this Auto Club Chevy team is capable of, I know what Jimmy and Chris can do with this car and I know how hard the crew guys work. We tested after the Phoenix race and we’ll be back on track. We were quickest at pre-season testing and that wasn’t a mistake,” Hight said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, to getting back to racing next in Gainesville. Two weeks is a long time to be waiting to get back in your car.”
The red, white and blue of Hight’s Auto Club Chevy hot rod has had notable success at Gainesville Raceway. The Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham led team has had four victories at the facility, 2012, 2014, a double-up win with teammate Brittany Force in 2016 and a historic win at last year’s 50th running of the event. In 2019, Hight also took the No. 1 qualifying position, his third consecutive making him the first nitro racer to start a season with three No. 1 qualifiers since Kenny Bernstein in 1987.
“Gainesville has been really good to this Auto Club team. Last season was incredible, winning the 50th anniversary of the Gatornationals, that was huge. The who’s who of drag racing were at the event, drivers I looked up to as a kid. It was something special to hold that Wally,” Hight said. “It would be the perfect way to set us on the right track to come into the NHRA East-Coast opener and take the victory. We’ll see what we can do, it’s definitely going to be a show.”
Nitro qualifying at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals takes place Friday with sessions at 3:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and will continue Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m. Fans can watch the action on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) Friday at 2 a.m. ET, Saturday at 1:00 a.m. ET and Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET.
About John Force Racing
John Force Racing, Inc., based in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Brownsburg, Ind., is a professional sports dynasty, one that has earned 21 NHRA championships and claimed 280 professional victories in Funny Car (269) and Top Fuel (11). Led by team owner and driver John Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champion, 1996 Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing, 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, and driver of the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, JFR is additionally comprised of Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Robert Hight, 2019, 2017 and 2009 Funny Car world champion and 2005 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner (NHRA’s Rookie of the Year); Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, 2017 Top Fuel world champion and 2013 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner; and Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist driver Austin Prock, 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner.
For more information, please visit www.johnforceracing.com.
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Photo Credit: Ron Lewis, driver photo: NHRA