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Robert Hight and crew chief Mike Neff followed their game plan to a tee Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway so when they lost in the final round of the 15th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals, there was nothing to do but congratulate winner Alexis DeJoria and prepare for the NHRA 4Wide Nationals.

Certainly, Hight's Auto Club team had nothing for which to apologize after its 10,000 horsepower Ford Mustang ran 4.082, 4.086, 4.073 and 4.083 in eliminations. Unfortunately, the final 4.08, which came with a 315.42 mile-an-hour speed, was no match for DeJoria's out-of-nowhere 4.023 - quick time of eliminations.

"We had a great car all day," Hight said of the blue-and-white Mustang that now has carried him to three consecutive final rounds. "It was so consistent. That was just a great run in the other lane. No one is hanging their head over here.

"We've been to three finals in a row and we have the points lead. Mike Neff has a great handle on this car and it was flawless today. The thing is the season is a marathon, not a sprint. We like where we are.

Hight, who was seeking his fourth win in the Summit Nationals, took advantage of boss and teammate John Force's unexpected first round exit to move around him into the Mello Yello points lead. It's the first time Hight has been No. 1 since July of 2012 but it's the ninth different season in which he's been the leader.

Force, meanwhile, was victimized by a mechanical failure that slowed the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang from a blistering 4.017 second qualifying pace to a comparatively modest 4.137 in a first round loss to journeyman Paul Lee (4.133). It was Force's first initial round exit in 11 races.

"I didn't do that good of a job today and neither did the car," said the 64-year-old drag racing icon. "These things happen, but we're no worse for it. We're still doing okay in points heading to the 4Wide. Jimmy (crew chief Jimmy Prock) and the rest of guys did a great job this weekend, but these mechanical hiccups can happen. I also need to a better job on my reaction times."

"The seals on the slide valve went out during the run and screwed up the electronics," Prock said of the first round. "(That) made the engine fuel mixture too rich. It was a pretty good run on seven cylinders, but we still didn't win. We'll try again in two weeks."

It was that kind of a weekend for the Ford faithful. First, Bob Tasca III endured a rare DNQ in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Ford. Then Tim Wilkerson was guilty of an even more rare foul start in the Levi, Ray and Shoup Mustang. And, finally, after setting track records for 1,000 foot time and speed in her Traxxas Ford Mustang, Courtney Force dropped a second round decision to veteran Cruz Pedregon.

"I sure wasn't trying to be aggressive on the tree," Wilkerson said after his foul wasted his best run of the weekend in the Levi, Ray and Shoup Shelby Ford. "I apologized to my guys for being a dummy. You know, there was a big long oil-down a couple of pairs ahead of us in Top Fuel and it was one of those deals where they thought it was only going to be five or ten minutes but it stretched out a lot longer than that and I stayed strapped in the whole time.

"You get kind of numb being strapped in so tight and your brain obviously gets a little numb, too. My fault, and it's just a shame."

"It was a crazy weather day with the wind blowing like that. When it's cloudy, then sunny, then it rains, then the sun comes back out, while the temperature drops four degrees instead of going up, all sorts of crew chiefs were caught with their pants down," said the man who is crew chief, driver and owner on the L-R-S Mustang.

"I knew I had fouled," Wilk admitted. "When I hit the pedal and went past the tree I remember thinking 'Oh man, that was red' but I decided to get a lap out of it to see if we were smart about what we were trying to do. I guess I should have told my guys that we're going down the track and we're not going to red light. I forgot to add that last part."

Tasca, too, was philosophical even though his stumble sent him plummeting from fifth all the way to 10th in points.

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong," Tasca said. "This is the worst weekend we've had in five years. It cost me a small fortune in parts. "When the engine blew (in qualifying) we lost our good blower. That didn't help. (Then) we burned it up pretty good on that last run. It was a seven-cylinder race car and that was it.

"We'll just pick the pieces up," he said. "It's early in the year. It's a small setback. We'll focus on the next race."

*****

Final round results from Sunday's 15th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway


FUNNY CAR - Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Tequila Patron Toyota Camry, 4.026, 309.98 mph, def. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.083, 315.42 mph.
TOP FUEL - Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.797, 326.16 mph, def. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, 3.814, 321.12 mph.
PRO STOCK - Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.612, 208.78 mph, def. Jason Line, Troutman, N.C., Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 6.633, 208.23 mph.
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Joey Severance, Woodburn, Ore., BAD, 5.269, 269.78 mph, def. Johnny Ahten, Santa Clarita, Calif., A/FD, 5.588, 259.91 mph.
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Nick Januik, Las Vegas, Nev., 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.631, 256.65 mph, def. Jay Payne, Claremont, Calif., 2009 Ford Mustang, 7.775, 117.90 mph.
COMPETITION - Lou Ficco Jr., Wheat Ridge, Colo., 2009 Pontiac GXP, def. Clint Sallee, Glendive, Mont., dragster.
SUPER STOCK - Peter Biondo, Maspeth, N.Y., 1998 Pontiac Firebird, def. Andrew Durham, Acadia, Calif., 2011 Dodge Challenger.
STOCK - Peter Biondo, Maspeth, N.Y., 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, def. Ryan Mangus, Rialto, Calif., 1967 Chevrolet Camaro.
SUPER COMP - Steve Williams, Beaumont, Calif., dragster, def. Sheldon Gecker, Surprise, Ariz., dragster.
SUPER GAS - Trevor Larson, Starbuck, Minn., 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, def. Steve Parsons, Ridgecrest, Calif., 1963 Chevrolet Corvette.

*****

Unofficial Mello Yello points following Sunday's 15th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway


FUNNY CAR - 1. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford, 367; 2. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford, 358; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Tequila Patron Toyota, 299; 4. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge, 241; 5. Del Worsham, DHL Toyota, 224; 6. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford, 207; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Make A Wish Dodge, 205; 8. Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Dodge, 204; 9. Jack Beckman, Valvoline Dodge, 202; 10. Bob Tasca III, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 194. Also, 11. Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota, 183; 12. Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford, 168.

TOP FUEL - 1. Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools dragster, 412; 2. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 339; 3. Steve Torrence, Capco Contractors dragster, 314; 4. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 262; 5. Spencer Massey, Schumacher Electric dragster, 236; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi dragster, 229; 7. Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi dragster, 223; 8. Brittany Force, Castrol EDGE dragster, 191; 9. Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy dragster, 160; 10. Richie Crampton, GEICO dragster, 157.

PRO STOCK - 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Elite Chevrolet, 344; 2. Jason Line, Summit Racing Chevrolet, 329; 3. Allen Johnson, Mopar Dodge, 317; 4. Vieri Gaines, Kendall Dodge, 276; 5. Tie, Vincent Nobile, Mountain View Tire Chevrolet, and Dave Connolly, Gray Motorsports Chevrolet, 267 each; 7. Shane Gray, Charter Communications Chevrolet, 237; 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., JEGS.com Dodge, 214; 9. Chris McGaha, Harlow Sammons Chevrolet, 191; 10. Jimmy Alund, Summit Racing Chevrolet, 169. Also, 11. Larry Morgan, Lucas Oil Products Ford, 145.

*****

Results from Saturday's K&N Horsepower Challenge Pro Stock bonus race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway


Round 1 - Shane Gray, Denver, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.635, 208.49 mph, def. Jason Line, Troutman, N.C., Summit Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.664, 208.55 mph; Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, 6.642, 208.42 mph, def. Vieri Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Dodge Avenger, 6.657, 208.33 mph; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com Dodge Dart, 6.639, 208.55 mph, def. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro, foul; Dave Connolly, Elyria, Ohio, Charter Communications Chevrolet Camaro, 6.648, 208.07 mph, def. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Mopar Dodge Dart, 6.643, 208.23 mph.

Semifinals - Enders-Stevens, 6.653, 208.14 mph, def. Coughlin, 6.642, 208.88 mph; Connolly, 6.654, 208.10 mph, def. Gray, 6.658, 208.68 mph.

FINAL - Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, 6.646, 208.39 mph, def. Dave Connolly, Elyria, Ohio, Charter Communications Chevrolet Camaro, 21.146, 36.51 mph.

******

Round-by-round results from Sunday's 15th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway


FUNNY CAR
Final qualifying order - 1. Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang, 4.006, 325.34 mph; 2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 4.017, 317.87 mph; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon, Ind., Make A Wish Dodge Charger, 4.023, 317.87 mph; 4. Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry, 4.041, 315.71 mph; 5. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar Express Dodge Charger, 4.046, 318.17 mph; 6. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Dodge Charger, 4.052, 315.34 mph; 7. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.059, 317.49 mph; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry, 4.067, 313.00 mph; 9. Chad Head, Lewis Center, Ohio, Head Construction Toyota Camry, 4.076, 309.20 mph; 10. Jeff Arend, La Verne, Calif., Kopply Pipeline Services Dodge Charger, 4.081, 311.70 mph; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 4.090, 312.13 mph; 12. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron Toyota Camry, 4.090, 309.84 mph; 13. Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., American Racing Wheels Toyota Camry, 4.100, 309.77 mph; 14. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Valvoline Dodge Charger, 4.115, 310.13 mph; 15. Paul Lee, Orange, Calif., McLeod Clutches Dodge Charger, 4.124, 306.81 mph; 16. Jon Capps, Las Vegas, Nev., Buckey Automotive Chevrolet Impala, 4.245, 264.13 mph.

Round 1 - 1. Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang, 4.106, 310.05 mph, def. 16. Jon Capps, Las Vegas, Nev., Buckey Automotive Chevrolet Impala, foul; 15. Paul Lee, Orange, Calif., McLeod Clutches Dodge Charger, def. 4.132, 300.60 mph, def. 2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 4.137, 302.96 mph; 14. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Valvoline Dodge Charger, 4.125, 308.78 mph, def. 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon, Ind., Make A Wish Dodge Charger, 8.354, 80.00 mph; 13. Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., American Racing Wheels Toyota Camry, 4.171, 291.32 mph, def. 4. Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry, 4.545, 211.39 mph; 12. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron Toyota Camry, 4.071, 305.28 mph, def. 5. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar Express Dodge Charger, 4.998, 185.36 mph; 6. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Dodge Charger, 7.856, 82.57 mph, def. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, foul; 7. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.082, 314.02 mph, def. 10. Jeff Arend, La Verne, Calif., Kopply Pipeline Services Dodge Charger, 4.768, 170.97 mph; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry, 4.757, 207.91 mph, def. 9. Chad Head, Lewis Center, Ohio, Head Construction Toyota Camry, 5.050, 232.79 mph.

Round 2 - Capps, 4.133, 311.63 mph, def. Beckman, 4.135, 311.27 mph; C. Pedregon, 4.104, 297.94 mph, def. C. Force, 4.144, 308.43 mph; Hight, 4.086, 316.82 mph, def. Lee, 4.312, 269.40 mph; DeJoria, 4.125, 307.37 mph, def. T. Pedregon, 4.604, 190.59 mph.

Semifinals - DeJoria, 4.090, 309.34 mph, def. C. Pedregon, 9.007, 82.23 mph; Hight, 4.073, 315.86 mph, def. Capps, 4.133, 310.84 mph.

FINAL - Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Tequila Patron Toyota Camry, 4.026, 309.98 mph, def. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.083, 315.42 mph.

TOP FUEL
Final qualifying order - 1. Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools dragster, 3.768, 325.14 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, 3.775, 321.88 mph; 3. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster, 3.779, 324.28 mph; 4. Spencer Massey, Ft. Worth, Texas, Schumacher Electric Battery Extender dragster, 3.794, 323.50 mph; 5. Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.797, 324.28 mph; 6. Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., GEICO dragster, 3.798, 319.98 mph; 7. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol EDGE dragster, 3.799, 315.85 mph; 8. Shawn Langdon, Mira Loma, Calif., Al-Anabi dragster, 3.815, 316.90 mph; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Calif., al-Anabi dragster, 3.824, 312.57 mph; 10. Bob Vandergriff Jr., Alpharetta, Ga., C&J Energy dragster, 3.831, 319.52 mph; 11. J.R. Todd, Lawrenceville, Ind., "Bounty Hunter" dragster, 3.841, 310.34 mph; 12. Troy Buff, Spring, Texas, Bill Miller Engineering dragster, 3.858, 305.08 mph; 13. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster, 3.874, 295.59 mph; 14. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Instigator dragster, 3.936, 309.77 mph; 15. Steve Faria, Tulare, Calif., System One Filtration dragster, 4.038, 289.63 mph; 16. Mike Strasburg, Lehi, Utah, B&J Transmissions dragster, 4.138, 279.85 mph.

Round 1 - 1. Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools dragster, 3.758, 322.19 mph, def. 16. Mike Strasburg, Lehi, Utah, B&J Transmissions dragster, 3.996, 305.01 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, 3.844, 320.58 mph, def. 15. Steve Faria, Tulare, Calif., System One Filtration dragster, 4.070. 249.26 mph; 3. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster, 3.785, 326.63 mph, def. 14. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Instigator dragster, 3.826, 301.33 mph; 4. Spencer Massey, Ft. Worth, Texas, Schumacher Electric Battery Extender dragster, 3.805, 320.43 mph, def. 13. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster, 4.212, 207.91 mph; 5. Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.808, 320.13 mph, def. 12. Troy Buff, Spring, Texas, Bill Miller Engineering dragster, 3.857, 310.27 mph; 11. J.R. Todd, Lawrenceville, Ind., "Bounty Hunter" dragster, 3.822, 323.74 mph, def. 6. Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., GEICO dragster, 3.837, 312.57 mph; 10. Bob Vandergriff Jr., Alpharetta, Ga., C&J Energy dragster, def. 3.824, 313.00 mph, def 7. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol EDGE dragster, 7.525, 68.56 mph; 8. Shawn Langdon, Mira Loma, Calif., Al-Anabi dragster, 3.796, 321.48 mph, def. 9. Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Calif., al-Anabi dragster, 3.810, 319.45 mph.

Round 2 - Kalitta, 3.837, 322.42 mph, def. Vandergriff, 3.842, 316.97 mph; Schumacher, 4.869, 220.69 mph, def. Massey, 12.908, 68.25 mph; Brown, 3.774, 326.48 mph, def. Langdon, 3.873, 300.80 mph; Torrence, 3.804, 324.83 mph, def. Todd, 3.800, 321.96 mph.

Semifinals - Kalitta, 3.785, 325.37 mph, def. Torrence, 4.941, 178.66 mph; Schumacher, 3.812, 327.43 mph, def. Brown, 3.875, 300.46 mph.

FINAL - Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.797, 326.16 mph, def. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, 3.814, 321.12 mph.

Final qualifying order - 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com Dodge Dart, 6.625, 209.17 mph; 2. Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro, 6.625, 208.46 mph; 3. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, 6.627, 209.04 mph; 4. Dave Connolly, Elyria, Ohio, Charter Communications Chevrolet Camaro, 6.627, 208.26 mph; 5. Jason Line, Troutman, N.C., Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 6.630, 208.94 mph; 6. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Mopar Dodge Dart, 6.632, 208.94 mph; 7. Shane Gray, Denver, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.632, 209.17 mph; 8. Jimmy Alund, Norrkoping, Sweden, Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 6.639, 208.49 mph; 9. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro, 6.647, 207.72 mph; 10. Vieri Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Dodge Avenger, 6.657, 209.07 mph; 11. Steven Kent, Lottie, La., Kent Trucking and Services Chevrolet Camaro, 6.657, 207.56 mph; 12. Deric Kramer, Sterling, Colo., American Ethanol Dodge Avenger, 6.686, 207.59 mph; 13. Matt Hartford, Phoenix, Ariz., Perfect Seal Dodge Avenger, 6.695, 206.95 mph; 14. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Lucas Oil Ford Mustang, 6.696, 206.73 mph; 15. Rodger Brogdon, Tomball, Texas, Protect the Harvest Chevrolet Camaro, 6.699, 206.95 mph; 16. Mark Wolfe, Arlington, Wash., Wolfe Racing Ford Mustang, 6.724, 205.69 mph.

Round 1 - 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com Dodge Dart, 6.697, 207.88 mph, def. 16. Mark Wolfe, Arlington, Wash., Wolfe Racing Ford Mustang, 12.622, 68.35 mph; 2. Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro, 6.621, 207.69 mph, def. 15. Rodger Brogdon, Tomball, Texas, Protect the Harvest Chevrolet Camaro, 6.702, 206.67 mph; 3. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, 6.645, 207.66 mph, def. 14. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Lucas Oil Ford Mustang, 6.693, 206.80 mph; 4. Dave Connolly, Elyria, Ohio, Charter Communications Chevrolet Camaro, 6.657, 207.59 mph, def. 13. Matt Hartford, Phoenix, Ariz., Perfect Seal Dodge Avenger, 22.863, 24.93 mph; 5. Jason Line, Troutman, N.C., Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 6.645. 207.37 mph, def. 12. Deric Kramer, Sterling, Colo., American Ethanol Dodge Avenger, 6.705, 206.29 mph; 11. Steve Kent, Lottie, La., Kent Trucking and Services Chevrolet Camaro, 6.673, 206.54 mph, def. 6. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Mopar Dodge Dart, 6.782, 207.43 mph; 7. Shane Gray, Denver, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.647, 207.91 mph, def. 10. Vieri Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Dodge Avenger, 7.498, 148.59 mph; 8. Jimmy Alund, Norrkoping, Sweden, Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 7.821, 194.18 mph, def. 9. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro, 8.110, 178.10 mph.

Round 2 - Alund, 6.689, 206.92 mph, def. Coughlin, 6.653, 207.82 mph; Line, 6.652, 207.72 mph, def. Connolly, 6.654, 207.91 mph; Enders-Stevens, 6.626, 208.39 mph, def. Kent, 6.674, 206.86 mph; McGaha, 6.644, 207.69 mph, def. Gray, 6.649, 208.46 mph.

Semifinals - Line, 6.645, 207.98 mph, def. Alund, 6.647, 208.10 mph; Enders-Stevens, 6.618, 208.65 mph, def. McGaha, foul.

FINAL - Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 6.612, 208.78 mph, def. Jason Line, Troutman, N.C., Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, 6.633, 208.23 mph.

####

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