Topeka, Kan., - - On Friday, driver Matt Rhoades, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and team owner Jerry Haas, from Fenton, Mo., returned to basics at the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park. In the opening session, Rhoades, at the helm of...
Topeka, Kan., - - On Friday, driver Matt Rhoades, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and team owner Jerry Haas, from Fenton, Mo., returned to basics at the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park. In the opening session, Rhoades, at the helm of the Haas-owned, Haas-prepared Chevy S-10, got out of the groove right off the starting line. Correcting, he drove the car back to the center of the lane, but had scrubbed off minute factions of elapsed time and settled for a pass of 7.626 seconds.
The second session caught many teams by surprise, including Team Haas. Most missed the clutch set up because the track conditions had improved greatly due to a cooler track. Nevertheless, Rhoades improved, recording a pass of 7.569 seconds at 178.07 mph, good for 18th position in the field.
"Our intentions for Friday was to establish a realistic baseline that would allow us to improve as the sessions progressed. We feel we accomplished that goal," said Haas.
The heat picked up on Saturday and Team Haas was never able to capitalize on the baseline that they established. When the books were closed on qualifying for this event, Rhoades was two-hundredth of a second out of the field. His second run on Friday was good for the 18th qualifying position.
"We are disappointed that our Chevy S-10 did not make the field. We just missed by a small margin on Friday, but never could regain the momentum that we had established," said Haas. "We'll continue searching for that elusive combination and then once again go after the field in Chicago next weekend."
The next event for Team Haas will be the Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just outside Chicago. The event will be contested May 31 through June 3. Professional qualifying will take place Friday and Saturday, with final eliminations on Sunday.