Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

September 3, 2013

NHRA Nationals crowns four new champions

By Micah McVicker Flyer correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — BROWNSBURG — Despite a sleepless night, Robert Hight expelled any sense of self-doubt. Hight defeated Jack Beckman by nearly two full seconds Monday afternoon at the 59th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, continuing John Force Racing’s dominance in the Funny Car category at Indianapolis. The Force Racing Team has combined to win this event the past six consecutive years.

Hight said it’s huge honor to continue that tradition at a place considered drag racing’s Super Bowl.

“This is definitely the biggest win of my career,” Hight said of his third U.S. Nationals crown and first of the season. “You start doubting yourself. We won four in-a-row last year early on in the season and then just went on a complete dry spell.”

Hight reached only his second final this season as he finished second Sunday, May 19 at Heartland Park Topeka (Kansas).

“You’ve got to do the job, and the outcome will come,” Hight said.

Beckman, meanwhile, smoked the tires during his run, costing him any chance of winning his first race of the 2013 campaign.

Shawn Langdon continued to build upon his points lead in the Top Fuel category.

Already entrenched as the No. 1 seed, and buoyed by his team’s five-year contract extension with Al-Anabi Racing, the current Avon resident won on his hometown track, defeating Steve Torrance for the second time in as many days.

“This race is, just the history behind it, how special it is—being from California, this is the one race that you always watched on TV,” Langdon said. “To finally get it done, it’s an indescribable feeling. This race is the biggest race of the year by far, obviously. If you’ve won Indy, you’ve done something.”

He noted that this title is the best birthday present; he’ll turn 21 today.

In his 74th final round in the Pro Stock category, Mike Edwards also built upon his points lead. Via a hole shot, he defeated Vieri Gaines by .018 seconds and picked up his 40th career win.

“Did I really just win this?” Edwards asked. “If you keep running good and keep giving yourself opportunities, that’s all you can ask. … It’s a tremendous feeling. It’s just anybody’s race anymore. (I’m) just very fortunate to win.”

John Hall beat teammate Matt Smith by about three-tenths of a second to win the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.

Smith said his team didn’t have time to change engines while Hall, in his first year with Matt Smith Racing, clutched his trophy during the press conference.

“This year, I felt comfortable, so I knew it was out there, but you just never know if you’re gonna get it,” Hall said of his first career win, on June 23. “It felt great to get it, and it feels just as good to get another one.”

About his trophy, he added, “I don’t want to let mine go.”