Story By: SARA SLAUGHTER / JOHN FORCE RACING – READING, PA – Robert Hight and the Cornwell Tools / AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS team are well positioned sitting No. 3 in the points standings as they head into the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the first event in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Hight and the Cornwell Tools Chevy return to Maple Grove Raceway as the defending Funny Car event champions. Hight had a commanding performance in 2022 with wire-to-wire success winning from the No.1 position. Hight also at Maple Grove in 2011 and qualified No. 1 in 2015 and 2017. The Cornwell Tools Camaro No. 3 points positioning comes off the strength of two wins at the Arizona Nationals and Charlotte Four-Wide events. He also has four No.1. qualifiers from the Route 66 Nationals, Thunder Valley Nationals, Heartland Nationals, and the most recent event, the U.S. Nationals where he also picked up a win in the All-Star Callout and had a semifinal finish.
“I’m ready to get this Countdown going. This Cornwell Tools team is coming around at the right moment. We’ve found some consistency, the combination that Jimmy Prock is using, it’s responding to what he and Thomas Prock and Nathan Hildahl are doing,” Hight said. “It’s slight adjustments and it’s running well, the progress is showing and it’s perfect timing. Everything has reset and we’re sitting in a good spot to really take a swing at this fourth championship. I’m excited to get started.”
Hight is looking to ride a No. 3 start to a fourth series championship that would put him in very select company. Only three Funny Car drivers have won as many as four championships – John Force, Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein. Hight has won the opening event in the Countdown four times and twice has won the championship after doing so, both when the opening event was held in Charlotte in 2009, and 2017. Hight has won more Countdown races than any other Funny Car driver with 14 and he is the only driver in any category to have won the championship from a last-place start (No. 10 in 2009) and No. 1 (2019). He also won from No. 2 in 2017.
Competition at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway begins with qualifying Friday at 3 and 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations will be run Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Television coverage of the first of six NHRA Countdown to the Championship events begins with qualifying shows Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will be covered by FOX Broadcasting Network with shows Sunday at either 4:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. ET, check your local listings.