Date published: May 28, 2010
Though she didn't win the final, Ashley Force Hood was satisfied with her weekend. "We moved up three spots in the points, so we are pretty happy with that," said Force Hood, who sits second in the standings behind her father, John Force, and just ahead of teammate and event winner Robert Hight. "[Crew chiefs] Ron [Douglas] and 'Guido' [Dean Antonelli] had a great tune-up for race day. I don't know if we would have done anything differently. The track might have been able to take a little bit more, but it is such a fine line that you have to walk."
Robert Hight switched bodies on his Mustang Saturday morning after the team discovered a problem on the original body that couldn't be fixed in time for the first run that day. When Hight ran a 4.17, the team elected to keep the backup body on the car rather than rush to fix the original one.
Jack Beckman continued to add roundwins to his season tally by advancing to the semifinals. "We are consistently going rounds again with this car, and I would rather get beat at this stage in the season by getting outrun but getting down the racetrack and getting data," said Beckman. "This is the homework. The last six races is the test. At least three of the last six races will be warm-weather races, so we definitely need to step up on our performance by a couple of hundredths, but that's pretty easy to do when you're getting data and not smoking the tires."
Beckman's weekend got off to a bit of a rough start when a broken throttle cable prevented him from making a run in the first qualifying session.
Though disappointed by losing on a holeshot in the semifinals, Bob Tasca III did have reason to smile. "Our Mustang went down the racetrack six out of seven times, and when you have a race car that is as consistent as that, you're going to win rounds and races," said Tasca. "You never like to lose on a holeshot, but we'll learn from it."
Jeff Diehl experienced a roller coaster of emotions during the event that began with a big boomer in the Friday night qualifying session that, though not as bad as originally thought, did severe damage to the body of his car. "It didn't even really blow up that bad - it just blew the head gasket into the oil filter, and that's where all the oil and the fire came from," said Diehl. "We were pretty excited when we got back to the pits and found out it didn't really hurt too much stuff, but we were still at the track until 3 in the morning fixing the body."
The work that Diehl's team did Friday night paid off Saturday when Diehl bumped into the field on the final qualifying attempt. The exhilaration of making the program was tempered Sunday morning when Diehl was shut off on the starting line after his burnout due to a fuel leak.
Tony Pedregon's team had a new look with Johnny West no longer onboard as crew chief and the addition of Rob Flynn as a consultant. "Johnny and I parted on good terms," said Pedregon. "We wanted to go in a different direction, and Rob was available. Rob and I both mutually agreed that he would come over as a consultant for the next couple of races, and then we would evaluate it. I do have some experience working with Rob before because he was with [brother] Cruz a couple of years ago, and he's got all the components I felt we needed. He's got the right approach and attitude."