was it meeting Force for the first time?
Hight: I was very nervous,
not stressing so much, but just wanting to come off good,
say and do the right things. I finally decided, just be
sincere. Tell the truth.
Hight: After the introductory
things, he told me that Austin and Bernie said I was all
right mechanically. I, up to that point, seemed to be passing
the test. He asked me a lot of things and you really come
away impressed with the guy. He is very much to the point,
driven, sincere, honest, and it rubs off. He is very big
into family and we hit it off their and then he had one
more final point. He told me, he tells this to every guy
who makes the cut, “One of the rules is stay away
from my daughter [Adria]." Kind of a hands off policy.
That was fine with me, short of the money, I didn’t
care. I just wanted to work with the team.
what’s developed on that front, how did it work out
that you two would wind up married. If nothing else, I
know John’s “No’s” don’t
Hight: When I first got
the job, I was content to live at the Yorba Linda shop.
He’s got sleeping quarters there, shower, there’s
restaurants nearby, so it wasn’t all that bad a deal.
When the guys would go home, I’d, with Austin and
Bernie’s okay, work on the car,
maintenance it and
all, and in doing that, hopefully learn some things and
Well, Adria lived a few blocks from the shop, and I guess she kinda felt sorry
for me. And it was really cool of her. She and some of her girlfriends would
come by and we’d talk, but I remembered what John said, and when they
asked if I wanted to go out with them, get something to eat, whatever, I didn’t
go. I was happy that they’d ask, but I really was happy working in the
shop. I loved doing it.
As we became better friends, I guess she went to her dad
and said something like, ‘You know dad, he’s
stuck in that shop and I know how you feel about the crews
and all, but he won’t even go out with me and my
friends.' Well, he said it was okay and one thing led to
another. That was 1995, 1996, and later in 1997, we bought
a house together.
to things a little less domestic, how did the driving thing
materialize? I take it you always had an itch to drive
a race car.
Hight: Oh yeah. They
hired me for the crew … perfect, couldn’t be
happier, but I did say to the guys, Austin, John, that
some day I’d like to drive. In March of last year,
I got some money and went to Frank Hawley’s School
in Gainesville just before the Gatornationals, and it went
well, ran a 6.28 best. A week or so later at Las Vegas,
John told me that he’d put me in the car.
I remember that day really well. I was so nervous that
when it came time to fill out the waivers for the insurance
forms at the track, I could barely write my name my hands
were shaking so bad. You know, you want to do it right,
and I was just trying to calm down and focus. Austin said
to take it out 330 feet and shut it off. When I hit the
throttle after the burnout and staged, I launched and it
was all blurs … just a tremendous burst of power.
I lifted and as soon as I did the car took off for the wall.
Gary Densham told me that I missed it by about a foot. What
I didn’t know was that when you get off the throttle
right now, the front end of the car gets so heavy that you
really have to take over at the wheel, really muscle the
car into shape. Well, that’s how you learn.