Robert Hight was 12th in Funny Car points when the NHRA U.S. Nationals started over Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
At the end of that event, the top 10 drivers in four professional categories, including Funny Car, would qualify for the six-event “Countdown to 1” playoffs.
His team and crew chief Jimmy Prock had struggled for most of the season but turned it around at Indy by reaching the final round, where they lost to John Force Racing teammate Ashley Force Hood.
The remarkable rally culminated Sunday in the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Hight won his third title in the past five events and posted the four quickest Funny Car runs of the day.
He beat Force Hood in the first round and eventually extended a 41-point to 105 points over her heading to the season finale in two weeks at Pomona, Calif.
“It helps, but I will tell you it is not over yet,” said Hight, 40, who has four wins this year. “We have been close a couple of times, and it hasn’t worked out in our favor.
“We still have to keep going.”
• OTHER WINNERS — Andrew Hines defeated Hector Arana in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but Arana was able to extend his points lead to 54 over Eddie Krawiec.
Other event winners were Shawn Cole (Top Alcohol Dragster), Daniel Oliver (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Dan Fletcher (Competition Eliminator), David Bogner (Super Stock), Jody Lang (Stock), Troy Coughlin (Super Comp) and Max Tafoya (Super Gas).
• LOCALS — Duane Shields of Boulder City red-lighted in the first round of Top Alcohol Dragster, and the false start ended his remote chance of winning a national championship. …
Justin Lamb of Henderson was eliminated by eventual Competition Eliminator champion Fletcher and lost in the semifinals of Super Gas.
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247.