Date published: May 28, 2010
Journal code: NDRG
Rickie Jones reminded his fellow Pro Stock drivers why he's widely regarded as one of the most feared NHRA drivers on the Tree at the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. One day before his 23rd birthday, the driver of the Elite Motorsports Pontiac GXP used two holeshot wins - including in round one (.001 to .078) against points leader Mike Edwards - to reach his second final at his 43rd race. Though he came up short of a first Wally when he lost to Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final, he had a huge day. The Galesburg, Ill., native began in 13th place, 44 points behind Shane Gray, and he left Atlanta in 10th, 15 points ahead of Gray. Also moving into the top 10 was Mohegan Sun/Vroom Racing Buell rider David Hope, who jumped from 11th to a tie for seventh with his run to the semi's. In Funny Car, John Force Racing had a monster weekend. Ashley Force Hood and Robert Hight met in the final after beginning the weekend in fifth and sixth place, respectively, and finished in second and third. Perhaps the more important move in Funny Car came from Bob Tasca III, who gave himself and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team serious breathing room with a run to the semi's. He improved from 10th to eighth and extended his margin over 11th-place Jeff Arend from 92 to 151.