TOPEKA, Kan. — Robert Hight outran teammate Mike Neff in the Funny Car final at the 23rd NHRA Summer Nationals Sunday to win the 200th race for John Force Racing.
The other winners at the seventh of 22 races in NHRA’s 60th anniversary season were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Shane Gray (Pro Stock).
It was the 21st career victory for Hight, whose less-than-stellar 4.284-second final-round pass at 264.86 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang was still good enough to defeat Neff’s 4.562 and 215.27 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
“I came to this race 16 years ago to be a part of John Force Racing and I thought then my dreams had come true. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I didn’t care,” Hight said. “To be part of history like this, 200 wins, this is now my dream come true. This is unbelievable.”
The list of drivers who have won races for John Force Racing includes John Force (132), Tony Pedregon (27), Hight (21), Gary Densham (8), Eric Medlen (6), Ashley Force Hood (4) and Neff (2).
Massey’s win came at the expense of Bob Vandergriff, who extended his NHRA record of runner-up finishes without a win to 13.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Massey, who ran a 3.914 at 312.78 to Vandergriff’s 3.962 at 302.21. “We have the consistency now and that’s what it takes to do it.
“We’ve smoked our tires and beat ourselves; at Atlanta (May 13-15), we talked about getting down the track and make the other car beat us and that’s what we did (reaching the semis), and we did it again here at Topeka.”
Gray won for the second time in his career and moved back into the Top 10 in the standings with his final-round 6.679-second pass at 206.95 mph in his Service Central Pontiac to Greg Stanfield’s 6.695 at 206.29 in the NitroFish Pontiac.
“We’ve struggled pretty much since the year started, had car issues, engine issues, we just went back to the shop, regrouped, dissected the motor, dissected people, made probably 100 test runs, came here and the car ran really well,” Gray said.
“This win goes to (crew chiefs) Ian (Landies) and Craig (Hankinson) and the entire Service Central team,” Gray said.