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Robert Hight and Doug Kalitta are looking to win big at NHRA Winternationals

The 60th Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals are this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
The 60th Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals are this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Big goals are on Robert Hight’s mind heading into this weekend’s NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

After putting together the most consistent and impressive season of his standout NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career in 2019, Hight knows how he can top his championship season in 2020 -- winning back-to-back championships in the class, a feat that hasn’t been done in nearly 20 years.

That doesn’t appear to be a problem heading into Pomona for Hight and his team, led by crew chief Jimmy Prock, who looked strong in testing at Las Vegas. Hight stayed in the 3.80s on every run, furthering his belief he can compete for a fourth Funny Car world title, which would also tie him with Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein.

Thousand Words put himself in the Kentucky Derby picture by winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita for Bob Baffert’s 3,000th victory.
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But to do that, Hight knows he’ll be challenged by standouts in the class, including John Force, a 16-time world champ, Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman, 2018 world champ J.R. Todd, Ron Capps, Alexis DeJoria, Tommy Johnson Jr., Bob Tasca lll, Tim Wilkerson and Cruz Pedregon.

The racetrack is a special one for Hight, who started his 2019 title season with a win at Pomona in his 11,000-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro SS. Adding a sixth Pomona win would put him on another ideal path.

In Top Fuel, veteran Doug Kalitta is vying for his third straight Winternationals win and fifth straight final round appearance. The longtime Top Fuel standout is eager to keep the momentum. The racetrack has been good to him and his 11,000-horsepower Mac Tools Toyota lately, as he swept both Pomona races a year ago, including the finale.

Robert Hight raced to his third Funny Car season title and second in three years by advancing to the final round of the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals.

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Kalitta will be challenged by top names such as Antron Brown, a three-time world champ, Leah Pruett, Terry McMillen, Shawn Langdon, who is returning to the class, Clay Millican, 2017 world champ Brittany Force and Austin Prock.

Qualifying begins at 12:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Friday, and continues Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are 11 a.m. on Sunday.


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