|BY CHRIS MARTIN
• Photos by Jeff Burk
uite by accident and en route to the first
Las Vegas test sessions, DRO-meisters Jeff Burk and Darr
Hawthorne related to me that a Robert Hight had filled the
position on the John Force Funny Car team once occupied by
Gary Densham. Robert Hight?
I had a friend named Bob Hite, who (not to
drop names) was the lead singer of the famed hippie era white
blues band Canned Heat, although that Hite was better known
as “the Bear.” He’s been dead for nearly
a quarter of century and knowing Force like I do, the 320-
wrecking crew would’ve never made the cut. Not only
would he have drunken all the team beer ON THE WAY to the
race, he’d have eaten all the ice, drank all the cold
water, and finally done in the Styrofoam cooler as well.
Different era, different guy, different deal. Still, the
Robert Hight name didn’t quite call up a face.
Robert Hight is a guy most any Force fans have
seen dozens of time. He’s a 10-year veteran of the
crew and in a lot of ways just like current second-year shoe,
Eric Medlen. When you see them in their firesuits for the
first time, you go “Oh, THAT’s Eric Medlen (or
in this case, Robert Hight).” I know I did and I’ve
been in their camp many, many times. In fact, I was kinda
embarrassed when I found out that this Robert Hight guy was "THAT
Robert Hight.” I had just known him as Robert for years,
never picked up on the last name or was too discombobulated
to remember it. Same deal as with Medlen. I missed the tests
last year and didn’t even know that good old “Eric” was
John Medlen’s son. Geezus, you talk about a no-reporting
son-of-a-bitch. It’s time for a visit to the Betty
Ford Journalism Rehab Center.
Anyway, how’d he do? 330-mph in testing,
only one of five guys to do go that fast in a Funny car.
John, Whit Bazemore, Gary Scelzi, and Tony Pedregon. Hot
stuff baby, tonight. .
And by the way, if you didn’t know it already, he is Mr. Adria Force …or,
uh, she’s Mrs. Robert Hight. Yep, Robert Hight is the boss’ son-in-law,
a team member who’s the best bet to have a very long run with Team Force.
And with that, here’s DRO's sit-down
with him at Las Vegas.
Robert, let’s get the vital stats
out of the way. How old are you? Where were you born? How
did you manage to hook up with drag racing’s Elvis?
A little on your previous racing experience.
35 and was born in Alturus, California which is close to
the Oregon border. My first actual crew job was with Tommy
Johnson Jr. in Top Fuel in 1994, and then the next year I
went Top Fuel again with Roger Primm, the same guy who has
the town named after him in near the Nevada border with California.
Hight: When I was working
with Primm, John Cox, one of the crew guys, knew Bernie Fedderly
and made the introduction. I’d never met John up to
that time. But as you can guess, I knew who Bernie was and
said, something like, ‘one day, I’d love to work
on Force’s team.’ And, in so many words, he said,
maybe we can talk and see what happens. It worked out really
well and I got a chance to meet the team for an interview.
In John’s system, you first have to go through Austin
[Coil] and Bernie, which makes a lot of sense. They check
me out mechanically, and certainly they’d be able to
say whether I had any potential or not. If I pass through
them they shoot me up to the boss.