Robert Hight takes Auto Club Chevrolet to Funny Car points lead in Las Vegas

Auto Club of Southern California driver Robert Hight sits atop the Funny Car points standings with one race remaining in the 2017 NHRA season.

Hight took over the points lead with a second-round victory over John Force Racing owner/teammate John Force. Hight then smoked the tires in the semifinals against another JFR teammate, Courtney Force, and finished the day 15 points ahead of Ron Capps.

Only the Auto Club Finals in two weeks at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., remains in the Countdown to the Championship.

“The way I look at a 15-point lead is we just have to go further than Capps at Pomona,” Hight said. “Our goal going into Pomona is to win that race and cap a championship off with a huge win at our home track in the Auto Club Finals.”

Hight came into Vegas with a 24-point deficit and then fell back one point after qualifying. But he showed off his driving prowess in the first round with a holeshot victory over Tim Wilkerson. Hight and Wilkerson ran identical 3.922-second passes, but Hight had a .062-second reaction time to Wilkerson’s .085.

John Force then followed with a victory over Capps, giving Hight a shot at taking the points lead. He ripped off a pass of 3.934 seconds at 328.38 mph to beat Force and advance to the semifinals.

There, Hight’s Chevrolet Camaro SS went up in smoke almost immediately, and he coasted across the finish line with a run of 10.402 at 83.40 mph. Courtney Force, meanwhile, was low ET for the round, running 3.928 seconds at 331.36 mph.

“You look at how this race could have gone: if we would have lost first round and Ron Capps won this race, we would have gone into the final race with a huge deficit,” Hight said. “Instead, my teammate, John Force, did some damage by taking out Capps in the first round. We got another round win, too.”