Robert Hight Picks Up Reading Victory
WORDS: THE BLOCK
PHOTOS: AUTO IMAGERY, INC.
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Robert Hight celebrates in the Winner’s Circle at Maple Grove Raceway.
When the Countdown to the Championship got underway at the track near Reading, Pennsylvania, the John Force Racing (JFR) driver was positioned third in the standings as he began his march toward his fourth Funny Car championship.
He qualified No. 3 at Maple Grove and won his first two elimination rounds on Sunday with passes in the 3.8-second range. However, rain moved the conclusion of the event to the following day.
Hight defeated two more opponents on Monday morning with 3.8-second passes to grab his third Wally of the season and the 64th of his career. In his 100th final round, he turned in a 3.854-second blast at 330.39 mph to take his second consecutive Maple Grove victory.
Robert Hight drove his John Force Racing Camaro SS to his 64th career victory at the track near Reading, Pennsylvania.
“This car is running good at the right time and we did exactly what we needed to do today,” said Hight, who now sits atop the point standings. “But we have to stay focused on the task at hand. We learned a lot of things, but we have to keep working and keep our heads down because it’s not going to get any easier. You’re probably going to have to win three, maybe four times in the Countdown to win a championship, so we can’t get too carried away yet. It was a job well done by this team this weekend and we’re excited about that, but it takes major work to win a championship.”
Hight’s Funny Car teammate, 16-time champion John Force, faced elimination in the second round in his Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Elsewhere in the JFR camp, defending and two-time Top Fuel champion Brittany Force was defeated in the second round in her Chevrolet dragster, while Austin Prock suffered a first-round exit in his Top Fueler.
Matt Hartford bested Kyle Koretsky in Pro Stock in all-Camaro SS final round.
In the Pro Stock category, 2023 U.S. Nationals winner Matt Hartford made it two in a row with a victory over Kyle Koretsky in an all-KB Titan Racing Camaro SS final. Hartford turned in a 6.532-second pass at 208.91 mph to best Koretsky, whose family owns Maple Grove Raceway. Koretsky clocked a 7.133-second lap at 208.26 mph in the runner-up effort.
Hartford’s victory was his third of the season and the eighth of his Pro Stock career. He is now the category points leader thanks to a gritty performance just days after having his appendix removed.
"It was a grueling weekend for everybody and the emotions were high,” Hartford said. “Our team never gave up and now there’s 20 win lights left in the year. If I just keep doing my job and keep my head on straight, I think we walk out of here with a white [world championship] hat after five more races.”
Aaron Stanfield steered his COPO Camaro to victory in Factory Stock Showdown competition at Maple Grove.
Chevrolet had a solid weekend across the board in Reading, with Aaron Stanfield also claiming his second victory of the season in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown. Stanfield drove his COPO Camaro to the win with a 7.676-second pass at 165.46 mph in the final round to take his 11th Factory Stock Showdown event win and 23rd Wally overall. The two-time champion also has a sizable points lead with three events left.
As the season begins to wind down, Bowtie NHRA teams are positioning themselves well to contend for multiple titles.
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