JOLIET, IL – May 17, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Robert Hight owns the track record in Funny Car at Route 66 Raceway, as well as back-to-back final round appearances at the two most recent NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series races at the Chicago track in 2018 and 2019.
Those are strong reasons why Hight is thrilled for NHRA’s return to Route 66 Raceway for the first time since 2019 at this weekend’s Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance. But another major reason is how Hight and his team bounced back after adversity at the most recent event in Charlotte.
Hight suffered back-to-back first round losses – a huge anomaly considering he didn’t lose in the first round in all of 2022 – and the team made wholesale changes heading into Charlotte. It led to a dominant weekend at the four-wide race, giving Hight, who is third in points, plenty of momentum going into the weekend in his 11,000-horsepower Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS.
“I’m super excited to get back to Chicago,” Hight said. “I love that facility and a lot of people from our shops will be there watching. We’re coming out there with the Cornwell Tools car and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won the most recent race in 2019 and this year’s event will be on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). It is the sixth of 21 races during the 2023 campaign and early-season event is loaded with special events on Saturday, including the Pro Stock All-Star Callout, as well as the #2Fast2Tasty Mission NHRA Challenge in both nitro classes and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Hight will get his opportunity to shine all weekend and his team, led by standout crew chief Jimmy Prock, has plenty to fall back on, winning the race in 2018 and setting the track records (3.851-seconds at 334.73 mph) the previous year. That makes him one of the top competitors in the loaded Funny Car ranks, which includes points leader Matt Hagan, who has three wins this season, Alexis DeJoria, John Force, defending world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon and Bob Tasca III.
Despite the tough competition, Hight impressed in Charlotte, rebounding with a big performance and crediting a team that helped make it all happen.
“We did change our car around after two first-round losses,” Hight said. “We did need that win after those two losses, so that…