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Hight’s High Continues

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 6 2017

Robert Hight rolled to his second straight pole on Saturday. (File photo by Marc Gewertz/NHRA)


Robert Hight secured his second consecutive Funny Car pole position Saturday as qualifying concluded for the 30th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

Hight earned P1 after a 1,000-foot pass in 3.883-seconds at 329.34 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS during the fourth and final qualifying session in Kent, Wash. Hight posted his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 53rd of his career. The 2009 world champion for John Force Racing, Hight will face Jeff Diehl in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

“This is definitely the best qualifying effort we’ve had all year long,” said Hight, who began the NHRA’s annual three-race summertime Western Swing with a victory at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. “We have a lot of confidence with three strong runs consecutively, and we think that if things continue to go our way we can move up to the top spot in the Countdown standings by the end of the season.”

Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) also emerged as No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 16th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Two-time world champion Matt Hagan of Don Schumacher Racing qualified second at 3.930-seconds and 328.54 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T. DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. rounded out the top three after a 3.930-second pass at 324.05 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge.

Brown, also of DSR, wheeled his Matco Tools dragster to the Top Fuel pole with a 1,000-foot pass in 3.735-seconds at 329.10 mph during Saturday’s second session. Brown now has two No. 1 qualifiers this season as he chases his fourth consecutive final-round appearance. Brown will take on Ron Smith in the first round of eliminations.

“I feel really good going into tomorrow despite the hot temperatures,” said Brown, the three-time/reigning world champion. “When you go in No. 1 that is a confidence-booster and builds up the morale for the whole team, so we just need to continue pushing for a championship and working hard.”

Doug Kalitta of Kalitta Motorsports  sits second in Top Fuel with a run of 3.744-seconds at 326.48 mph in his Mac Tools dragster set during his second pass Saturday. “That run was a great way to end qualifying,” Kalitta said. “We’ve hit on a great tuneup and I hope that translates into four wins lights tomorrow.” Additionally, Kalitta clinched a spot among the top 10 Top Fuel drivers for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Leah Pritchett sits third after a 3.755-second pass at 325.30 mph in her DSR dragster.

In Pro Stock, Gray took over the top spot after covering the quarter-mile in 6.565-seconds at 210.24 mph in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevy Camaro during his first pass Saturday. The rookie secured his second pole of the season as he chases back-to-back event wins after a victory in Round 2 of “The Swing” at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California last Sunday. 

“I feel really confident with the race car my team has given me; my whole group has done an awesome job,” Gray said of his family-owned operation. “Today’s two runs have been pretty consistent and my confidence is definitely up after the win in Sonoma last week, so we’re going to try and keep that up tomorrow.”

Drew Skillman is second on the ladder after a run of 6.568-seconds at 209.75 mph in his Ray Skillman Camaro. Point-leader Bo Butner is third with a 6.570-second pass at 210.28 mph in his Jim Butner’s Auto Camaro.

The FOX Network will air three hours of live coverage of final eliminations starting at 4 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 30th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Antron Brown, 3.735-seconds, 329.10 mph  vs. 16. Ron Smith, 5.502, 140.65; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.744, 326.48  vs. 15. Terry Haddock, 3.999, 283.67; 3. Leah Pritchett, 3.755, 325.30  vs. 14. Shawn Reed, 3.925, 314.97; 4. Clay Millican, 3.766, 318.39  vs. 13. Scott Palmer, 3.864, 322.73; 5. Brittany Force, 3.780, 324.05  vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.862, 309.98; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.783, 324.12  vs. 11. Troy Coughlin Jr., 3.854, 320.43; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.791, 324.75  vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.835, 313.37; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.797, 322.81  vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.826, 319.29.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.883, 329.42  vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.998, 120.28; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.930, 328.54  vs. 15. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 4.238, 286.92; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.930, 324.05  vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.064, 305.08; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.943, 325.14  vs. 13. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.006, 311.49; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.943, 323.35  vs. 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.995, 318.84; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.956, 319.37  vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.990, 322.04; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.963, 324.05  vs. 10. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.988, 318.32; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.973, 307.23  vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.981, 325.22.

Pro Stock _ 1. Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.565, 210.24  vs. Bye; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.568, 209.75  vs. 13. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.680, 207.30; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.570, 210.28  vs. 12. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.647, 208.46; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.575, 210.31  vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.643, 207.46; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.576, 210.67  vs. 10. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.619, 208.75; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.599, 208.78  vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.611, 209.49; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.600, 209.69  vs. 8. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.601, 209.52.


| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 6 2017
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