November 9, 2018– by Kay Presto, www,carsandcompetiton.com —
At the 54th Annual Auto Club Finals in Pomona, California this weekend, there will be a David and Goliath battle in the Funny car ranks.
Seasoned veteran Robert Hight, currently the 2017 NHRA Funny Car World Champion, is taking on young J. R. Todd, who is only in his second year of piloting the hard-to-handle Funny car mounts. In contrast, Hight currently has 45 Funny Car career victories.
Due to a take-down in the second round at the recent drag races at Las Vegas due to a dropped piston, Hight finds himself 74 points behind the impressionable young driver.
Todd admits he stumbled in his performance mid-season, but his team began clicking after his test session held before the U. S. Nationals this year. “My crew changed their old ways of tuning the car,” Todd said, “and we began using different parts.”
With five wins under his belt going into the Finals, Todd feels confident, but with the point-and-a-half system in play for Pomona, and up to 191 points to close out the year, he will have to race hard for that world championship.
That does not shake Todd’s confidence. “Del Worsham knew how to stay focused and to run well,” he said. “We need to maintain what we are doing, and go to the later rounds.”
On the other side, Hight also is brimming with confidence. “I was really nervous at the Finals last year, then I won the first round, and won the championship,” he stated. “There are fifteen Funny Cars in our class, and every year it gets tougher to win. I’m pleased to be at this level of confidence, and plan to come back strong at Pomona.”
No matter which round it will be at Pomona, the fans will be on high alert every time that Todd’s DHL Toyota Camry and Hight’s Auto Club Camaro SS pull up to the staging lane – no matter who their opponent is in the other lane, and there eill be one ecstatic driver and team – who will carry that NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series World Championship trophy home.