Hight tops Funny Car qualifying at Gatornationals

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Robert Hight topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday in the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in his bid to open the season with three straight victories.

Hight had a 3.831-second run at 333.41 mph in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 72nd overall. He opened the season with victories in Pomona, California, and Chandler, Arizona.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be No. 1,” Hight said. “We just needed to make a good run so we have a solid baseline for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we’ll have to pick it up a little bit but when we do that, it’s going to run even better. This thing is amazing — 14 out of 15 runs it’s gone in the 3.80s.”

Tripp Tatum led the Top Fuel field, Aaron Stanfield topped the Pro Stock lineup and Matt Smith got the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle based on points from last season.

Tatum raced to his first career No. 1 qualifier, making the quickest run in track history with a pass of 3.674 at 331.53.

Points leader Stanfield made the quickest run in the history of electronic fuel injection in Pro Stock with his track-record pass of 6.468 at 211.66 in a Camaro.

Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying could not be completed Saturday.

Steve Torrence, Brittany Force, Mike Salinas and Justin Ashley won first-round races in the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout. The final two rounds of the specialty event will be completed at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in September.

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