NHRA: Hight holds top spot after Friday’s qualifying sessions

Day One of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 19

Second Round Drag racing at BIR
Robert Hight drives his Funny Car to an elapsed time of 3.865 reaching 330.31 mph in the second qualifying session Friday, August 19, 2022, at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway
Steve Kohls / Brained Dispatch
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BRAINERD — The long pause for rain proved positive for Robert Hight as he raced to the No. 1 Funny Car qualifying position after opening day Friday, Aug. 19, of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

Running in cool conditions with a track temperature of 89 degrees and air temperature of 69 degrees, Hight ran an elapsed time of 3.865 with a top speed of 330.31 mph. Hight will be looking for his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season if he holds the top spot Saturday. It would be his third at BIR, where he previously qualified No. 1 in 2017 and 2018.

Hight praised the track staff for getting the track into prime racing shap after the rain.

“NHRA did an amazing job of getting the track dried and in great condition for us to all go out and make great runs tonight,” he said. “ … This track is amazing. It’s just that the air is not quite where Sonoma was, so it was hard for people to make horsepower. You didn’t see many cars smoke the tires and that shows you the power isn’t quite there. But, this is exactly what we needed to make consistent runs.”

It vaulted him over Bob Tasca III, the top qualifier after the first run. It was familiar territory for Tasca as he raced for his second No. 1 qualifier in a row at Brainerd. In 2021, he made it into the semifinal on elimination day, where he lost to eventual champion Matt Hagan.


Tasca III, who clinched a spot in the Countdown a week ago in Topeka, Kansas, was going after his third straight No. 1 qualifier. His opening run was 3.881 ET with a top speed of 331.45 mph, which put him just in front of Hight at 328.22 mph, finishing with 3.897 ET.

More NHRA Results from Friday
Qualifying results from the Day One of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 19

Fan favorite Ron Capps finished third, Hagan finished fourth and BIR wins leader John Force placed 11th. The 73-year old Force has 11 career wins at BIR.

Hight from the left lane in the fifth race in the second round after the delay, off the light with a reaction time of .123 and reaching 660 feet at 3.132 seconds on his way to the low ET.

Hight noted the conditions in Brainerd were a welcome change from a brutal western swing.

“This is a breath of fresh air after what we have been through the last few weeks in the heat and humidity,” he said. “It has been brutal where we’ve been so this is really nice. It is nice to take the fire suit off and just not be soaking wet. The fans are in for a great weekend with side-by-side racing.”

With six wins in 2022, Hight is aiming for at least two more wins to be the champion. His team is staying behind for more testing Monday at BIR. For Hight, it’s a hopeful beginning toward a successful weekend.

“Looking at the forecast yesterday, today did not look good at all,” Hight said. “I was thinking it was going to be a washout, but the forecast kept getting better and this track really holds up well. A lot of tracks when you see that kind of rain, the rubber starts lifting, but this is an amazing track and it still holds the ET record for Funny Car.

“This is one of the best tracks on the circuit. You just have to get the conditions.”


Funny Car Day One Qualifying Results: 1-Robert Hight 3.865 ET, 330.31 MPH; 2-Bob Tasca III 3.881, 328.46; 3-Ron Capps 3.885, 328.46; 4-Matt Hagan 3.893, 327.74; 5-JR Todd 3.899, 333.91; 6-Tim Wilkerson 3.906, 326.24; 7-Alexis Dejoria 3.916, 315.78; 8-Blake Alexander 3.936, 326.79; 9-Cruz Pedregon 3.970, 320.66; 10-Jim Campbell 4.012, 303.23; 11-John Force 4.121, 242.98; 12-Dale Creasy Jr 5.740, 121.99; 13-Chad Green 11.447, 31.31

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