Hight leads Force Hood by 105 points
LAS VEGAS -- Robert Hight closed in on his first Funny Car season championship, racing to his third victory of the season Sunday at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
Hight beat second-place teammate Ashley Force Hood in the first round of eliminations, then pulled out a close final round victory over Jack Beckman to take a 105-point lead in the standings.
"It's amazing what a win can do and get that confidence back," said Hight, who powered his Ford Mustang to a performance of 4.125 seconds at 304.46 to edge Beckman's Dodge Charger (4.154 at 303.16).
"That was a close race in the final. All the runs this weekend the car was on its performance. It really gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. It's all about confidence. The championship isn't over yet, but we're really close."
Spencer Massey, Larry Morgan and Andrew Hines also won in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race was the fifth of six events in the Countdown to 1, NHRA's championship playoffs.
NHRA rookie of the year nominee Spencer Massey earned his second victory of the season, beating team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's former driver, Larry Dixon, in the final. With the runner-up finish, Dixon trails series leader Tony Schumacher by one point. Veteran driver Cory McClenathan, who beat Schumacher in the second round, is in third in the title hunt, 48 points back.
Morgan had his first win since 2002 and the 10th of his career in Pro Stock, outrunning first-time finalist Rickie Jones in the final round.
Morgan posted a 6.720 at 205.69 in his Dodge Stratus to hold off Jones' Stratus, which trailed with a 6.794 at 203.16. Series leader Mike Edwards lost in the second round. He leads second place Greg Anderson by 139 points. Edwards needs only to qualify for the season finale to clinch the title.
Hines took his third win of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle when series leader Hector Arana fouled at the start in the final round. With the runner-up finish, Arana increased his series lead to 54 over defending champ Eddie Krawiec.
The season will end Nov. 12-15 at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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