With the 2014 NHRA season kicking off this weekend in Pomona, California, I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up with Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang Funny Car and President of John Force Racing, to pick his brain on the sport of drag racing and the upcoming 2014 season.
What makes a good racing season turn into a great season for you?
Winning a championship is important but I think winning consistently all year makes a great season. John Force had a lot of great seasons in the 90s. I think even though John won the championship last year it wasn’t a great season. When I won the championship in 2009 it wasn’t a great season because I got hot at the end. It was awesome to win the championship but to be great I think you have to be dominant from Pomona to Pomona.
What’s the biggest challenge in balancing both your role as a driver and the President of John Force Racing?
I think it is an honor to be this position. I just try and be as involved as possible in whatever John needs me to do. A lot of drivers work with their sponsors but I am also involved in more of the business side of things with the machine shop as well as sponsors. I learn a lot from John.
How do you mentally prepare for each race and stay focused throughout?
I think you get your focus from being consistent and doing the same thing every race. I try and spend time with the fans and my team. You can’t think about things away from the track. If you are thinking about something coming up in a week you aren’t focused on racing and that can hurt you. I really just focus on each run whether it is qualifying or eliminations the same way.
You’re a perfectionist on the track. Does that chase for perfection also transfer into your daily life?
(laughs) I don’t think a perfectionist ever thinks they are a perfectionist. I definitely like to have things done a particular way both at the track and away from the track. The best example is if I am riding in a car and I hear a rattle that tells me that something is not right. I will want to figure out what is making that sound and it will drive me crazy until I can get it fixed.
What would you like to say to your fans at RacingJunk.com?
I think you want to come out and just take in the whole experience. There is a lot going on for the young and old. You can meet the drivers and watch the warm-ups but then you have to go over to all the interactive displays. That is one of the best things about NHRA national events is how much stuff there is to do now. It is an all-day event with racing, displays, and rides. There is something for everyone in a family to enjoy.