Robert Hight after winning it St. Louis. (NHRA Photo)

Funny Car Title Battle Comes Down To Pomona

As the sun sets on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, the Funny Car battle rages on. 

With only one race remaining, John Force Racing’s Robert Hight holds a 61-point lead over Ron Capps, with Tony Stewart Racing’s Matt Hagan third, two points behind Capps. 

A twist with the season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., is the number of points available as points-and-a-half will be awarded during qualifying and eliminations, allowing more opportunities for Capps and Hagan to close the gap. 

For Hight, the key to a fourth NHRA Funny Car world championship depends on execution and preparation. 

“We know things can turn in a hurry. We really are focused on trying to get every qualifying point we can,” Hight said. “We want to go out there and make four perfect runs in qualifying. That’ll position us where 61 points is a lot better than 59. I don’t know how it works with 60 and a tiebreaker, but we want to be 61 or better. I don’t think it’s possible to get to 91, which would make it to where you just have to win (the) first round. That’s not possible.

“We’re not overlooking anything. We’ve got to make sure we make four perfect runs in qualifying and then you’ve got to do the same on Sunday.”

Hight will have a hint of momentum on his side, having won at Pomona in February.

“We’re going to have a very similar conditions,” Hight said. 

Since then, Hight has gathered another eight victories, 12 final-round appearances and six No. 1 qualifiers. 

“I’m battling with two guys. Basically, we’ve had the three best cars all year long,” Hight said. “We battled at Pomona, I knew it was going to be this way all year long. It’s some big races when you race those two guys.”

While Hight and Hagan look for their fourth title, defending champion Capps looks to notch a third.

For Capps, the thought of being the chaser heading into Pomona unlike last year, brings mixed emotions. 

“I’ve been so many times on both sides of it. Just having a shot at it,” Capps said. “Of course, we’d like to have a bigger lead than we expected at Vegas. But it is what it is. I think NHRA making it points-and-a-half has really amplified everybody. Like Robert said, everybody’s going to be just checking, triple checking everything on the crew, the driver.

“You’re going to go up there and try to everything you can to make the best run in the driver’s seat. I think I’m liking it right now. I’m liking chasing them. Last year was fun, but boy, I was a little more nervous last year just trying to extend that lead.” 

Regardless of how many scenarios can play out throughout the weekend at Pomona, Hight’s plans are plain and simple. 

“We’ve got to focus and make eight perfect runs,” Hight said. “If we do that, we’re going to be the champs. That’s what my team and I have talked about. Make eight perfect runs, get your ninth win, and celebrate at Auto Club Raceway in front of our sponsors and family. That’s the way I want it to play out.”