Atlanta, Ga. (May 6) - The field is set for the 20th Annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, Ga. It is no surprise that once again this field has produced one of the tightest fields in the history of the class. With .073 sec.
Atlanta, Ga. (May 6) - The field is set for the 20th Annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, Ga. It is no surprise that once again this field has produced one of the tightest fields in the history of the class. With .073 sec. separating the Number 1 and the Number 16 qualifiers, it is easy to see that the Atlanta fans will be treated to field where anyone can win.
For the fourth time this year Bob Panella, driver of the Panella Trucking Chevrolet S-10 truck, has driven his truck to the top of the ladder. In the first round of qualifying Panella captured the Number 1 spot when he piloted his Chevy S-10 to a 7.525 / 180.09 mph for a new track record.
"Our Chevy S-10 shines at this kind of racetrack," said Panella. "These conditions are perfect for our set-up. We seem to always run better when it warms up. The racetrack is smooth, which is nice after what we have had to race on. It is smooth and kind of slick, but that's okay. The hot weather and the slick racetrack will separate the men from the boys. Anyone can get down a good racetrack, but getting down a not so good track, that is where the good racers really shine. This has been a one lane racetrack so we are glad to be Number 1 and have lane choice going into eliminations."
Scott Tidwell, driver of the CBI Performance Warehouse Chevy S-10, enters eliminations in the eighth spot, talks about the importance of a lane choice on this one lane Atlanta racetrack.
"The left lane is a couple hundredths better than the right," said Tidwell. "Lane choice is always important on Sunday, but even more so here in Atlanta. We run after the fuel cars. The fuel cars leave a lot of clutch dust on the track, which will make it real slick. The good news is that the Pro Stock cars and bikes are in front of us. After they run the lanes should even out for us. We have seen a lot of one-lane racetracks this season, which means we are qualifying for lane choice. It would be nice to an even racetrack where we can use a little racing strategy on Sunday, but like the saying goes 'you have to race what you have'. We will be all right tomorrow."
New driver for the Jerry Haas Racing Chevrolet S-10 is Steve Farr. Farr, the unassuming young driver from Colleyville, Texas, qualified for his first race ever here in Atlanta.
"I have waited years for this, it is like a dream come true for me," said Farr. "When I was 13 years old I got Jerry's autograph at the national event in Dallas. Since then he has been my idol. To be able to drive for him and to be in the show here is really a dream come true for me."
Greg Stanfield, driver of the DBP Enterprises Chevrolet S-10, struggled all weekend. Going in the last round of qualifying Stanfield was sitting on the bubble and uncomfortable with his position. In the last session Stanfield ran a 7.561 / 178.26 mph to move into the fifth position on the eliminations ladder.
"We WAG'ed (Wild A_ _ Guess) it on that last pass," said Stanfield, "and it worked! We have struggled all weekend. I knew going into the last session the we were not going to stay in 16th. What we were doing was not working, so we tried something unusual. It worked. We are glad to be in the top half of the field. We will need lane choice on Sunday to stay out of the bad lane."
This weekend Randy Daniels, who has qualified either Number 1 or Number 2 for the four races, in the final session of qualifying ran 7.552 / 178.42 mph to place him in the Number 3 position.
"We thought we would try something different this weekend," said Daniels, driver of the Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10. "We are happy with Number 3. Our plan for Sunday is to stay out of the right lane. There are problems with that lane. I don't think anyone as run well from there all weekend. We are just going to stay away from it on Sunday."
Brian "Lump" Self, driver of the Roof Tec Chevy S-10 truck, enters eliminations in the 15th spot with a 7.594 / 176.77. Lump talked about this strategy for Sunday's eliminations.
"Sunday I am going to need to be on the tree," said Self. "I have Lingenfelter first round. I know he will put me in the right lane. That is not where I want to be. I am going to have to cut a good light on him to make up for what he has us covered by. I can do that. I have been cutting good lights all weekend. My plan is to not worry about the lane, and drive like I know I can."
Eliminations at the 20th Annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals begin at 10:30 AM Sunday May 7.