NHRA: Hight Sizzles In Gateway; Leads List Of Provisional No. 1 Qualifiers

RaceChaser Staff Drag Racing, Featured, NHRA 0 Comments

Robert Hight jumped out to the early qualifying lead in the Funny Car class Friday at Gateway Motorsports Park. (NHRA photo)

Robert Hight jumped out to the early qualifying lead in the Funny Car class Friday at Gateway Motorsports Park. (NHRA photo)

MADISON, Ill. – Robert Hight sprinted to the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car Friday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories.

Hight pushed his Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS to a 3.893-second pass at 328.38 mph during Friday’s second qualifying session to lead the Funny Car pack. Hight, who won this event in 2010, has 47 No. 1 qualifiers in his career but has not qualified better than third so far this season.

He won in Gainesville, Fla., earlier in the year and is currently seventh in the points standings.

“This was a big day for us, but it’s only one day,” said Hight, the 2009 Funny Car world champion. “We tested on Monday, me and John (Force), and it’s really hard to judge your performance and gauge because you don’t have other cars there. You don’t really know until you go to the next race track and you’ve got other cars. So, to go out there and be No. 1 two runs in a row today with all the changes we’ve made on the car, that really shows how good my team is.”

Jack Beckman is second in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a 3.907 at 325.22. The Chicago event winner, who fell to eighth in points after a first round loss last weekend in Charlotte, N.C., won this event in 2012 en route to his only Funny Car world championship crown.

In third is two-time 2016 event winner Tim Wilkerson, who raced to a 3.912 at 325.61 in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang.

Two-time world champion Matt Hagan is fourth and is followed by Houston winner Courtney Force and reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham in fifth and sixth, respectively. Points leader Ron Capps is seventh while Charlotte winner and 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force is currently slotted 15th.

In Top Fuel, Crampton navigated the dragstrip in 3.733 at 323.50 at the controls of this Lucas Oil dragster to take the qualifying lead. The Adelaide, South Australia native has one No. 1 qualifier this year and four in his career.

Crampton posted a runner-up finish earlier this season in Sonoma, Calif., but is still chasing his first win of 2016.

“In the Countdown is when you want to start running your best,” said Crampton, who is 10th in points. “You can’t start a weekend much better than being on the pole and hopefully that will give us a softer first round draw on Sunday but we can’t take anyone lightly anymore either. It doesn’t mean a huge amount in the big scheme of things to me, because now it’s about what we can do in the hot weather on Sunday.”

Doug Kalitta is second with a 3.752 at 325.92 in his Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta, a three-time St. Louis winner, has raced to three victories this season and is second in the points standings.

Tony Schumacher, an eight-time world champ, is third with a 3.757 at 320.58 in his U.S. Army dragster. The winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history is a two-time St. Louis winner and currently sits fifth in points.

Sonoma winner J.R. Todd is currently qualified fourth and is followed by Phoenix winner Leah Pritchett in fifth. Reigning Top Fuel champion and points leader Antron Brown is in the 12th spot.

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