CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Robert Hight took his second straight Funny Car victory to kick off the Countdown to the Championship playoffs at the NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday.
Hight powered his Ford Mustang to a run of 4.083 seconds at 312.64 mph to race to the victory against points leader Matt Hagan in the final round. Hagan had a quicker run of 4.066, but Hight posted a quicker .055 reaction time to hang on for his second win in 2013 and 29th of his career.
Hight beat Chad Head, No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon and teammate Courtney Force to reach the final round.
"We've pulled it all together at the right time and we're clicking right now," Hight said. "We've got our work cut out for us, but we definitely did what we had to do (on Sunday). I've got some confidence now, but there's still a lot of work to do."
Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the first of six races in the NHRA's playoffs.
Lucas claimed his second win in the past four events, topping new Top Fuel points leader Spencer Massey in the final round with a run of 3.788 at 317.49 in his dragster. Lucas held off Massey's run of 3.816 at 319.60 for his ninth career win.
Coughlin earned his third Pro Stock victory this season and 55th in his career against Jason Line in the final round. Coughlin posted a winning time of 6.583 at 210.05 in his Dodge Avenger, but his quicker reaction time overcame Line's quicker, but losing Chevy Camaro, which finished in 6.578 at 210.97.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines picked up his first win of the season in his first final round appearance of the year by beating Hector Arana Sr. Hines rode his Harley-Davidson to a winning time of 6.966 at 190.97 to knock off Arana, who fouled out with a red-light start on his Buell.
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