Commerce, Ga. - - Matt Rhoades, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., picked up where he left off in Las Vegas, as qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals got underway at Atlanta Dragway. Rhoades first pass was his mark for the day when...
Commerce, Ga. - - Matt Rhoades, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., picked up where he left off in Las Vegas, as qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals got underway at Atlanta Dragway.
Rhoades first pass was his mark for the day when he recorded an elapsed time of 7.590 seconds at 177.74 mph. This landed the rookie driver in the 9th qualifying position after one session. In the late afternoon session, and the heat of the day, Rhoades matched his previous run when he recorded numbers of 7.609 seconds at 178.19 mph. This placed Rhoades 15th at the end of day one of qualifying.
"We were consistent out there today. The more time I spend in the driver's seat the more comfortable I am getting. I think the seat time is making me a better driver. It is helping adjust to this class and the more I go down the track the better equipped I am to hit shift points and make clean passes. We'll be looking to improve in the sessions on Saturday. The cooler morning session should be everybody's best opportunity to improve," said Rhoades.
The second Team Haas truck, driven by Rhoades' teammate Charlie Greco, from St. Davids, Penn., didn't fair as well finishing the first day of qualifying well down the qualifying grid.
Team owner Jerry Haas, from Fenton, Mo., has mixed emotions about today's results. "We did a lot of testing prior to this race. It looks like we have one Chevy S-10 heading in the right direction, but we need to find the proper balance with Greco's truck. We made some improvement in the second session and hope to take what we learned and utilized that baseline for a major push on Saturday," Haas reflected at the end of qualifying Friday.
Both Greco and Rhoades will have two additional chances to improve their position on Saturday. Once the field is set, then final eliminations for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals get underway on Sunday at 11 a.m. (ET). If you can't attend the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals in person, be sure to catch all the action on television:
Saturday, May 5: ESPN2 Qualifying Highlights 4:30-6:30 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, May 6: ESPN2 Final Round Action 5-7 p.m. (ET)