Road Atlanta: Dodge Motorsports qualifying report

TOMMY ARCHER WINS THIRD GT POLE OF THE SEASON, PUTS DODGE IN A TIE FOR THE LEAD IN MANUFACTURER POINTS STANDINGS BRASELTON, Ga. (September 28, 2006) -- Tommy Archer grabbed the pole at Road Atlanta for round nine of Speed World Challenge GT ...


BRASELTON, Ga. (September 28, 2006) -- Tommy Archer grabbed the pole at Road Atlanta for round nine of Speed World Challenge GT competition, getting his third pole of the season and tying Dodge with Porsche for the lead in the GT Manufacturers' points standings.

Archer, who sits seventh in the driver points standings, says they found the speed when they made the right adjustments on the car after Wednesday's practice sessions.

"We were [frustrated yesterday] because we had gotten on the wrong track [with the adjustments to the car]. We were smart enough to say, hey, let's back up here," said Archer after winning the pole. "The qualifying run wasn't perfect. I messed up a turn out there and the way the track has been, nobody's been able to follow it this weekend. I tried to find it with a set up that I could be reasonably comfortable with. There are some tricks to this track but if you've been here long enough you know some of that stuff and I think that helps me as an old guy."

Archer has gotten poles in multiple different series at Road Atlanta throughout his many years racing there, sitting on pole in his first career-start there in 1980. His time of 1:26.441 seconds today was nine tenths quicker than second-place qualifier Andy Pilgrim.

Dodge Motorsports put three Vipers in the top-12 of the GT starting grid, with their second highest qualifying Dodge being North Canton, Ohio's Mike McCann. McCann qualified his No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters/Dodge Viper in the 10th position, equaling his overall-best practice position from Wednesday.

"We could have been better. It's a tough crowd out here. Everybody's pulling out all the stops," McCann said after his qualifying run. "The track wasn't as fast as I hoped it would be and I thought we would be faster."

Woodhouse thought he would be faster, too. After posting the second quickest time in practice on Wednesday, Woodhouse was considered a threat to take one of the top starting spots. But the No. 13 Woodhouse Auto Family/Kicker/Dodge Viper posted the 11th quickest time.

"For qualifying what you attempt to do is run your best lap on your first lap and if you miss it you're going to drop somewhere between a half-a-second and a full-second because of the tires," said Woodhouse. "The first lap is the best shot you have at getting your best lap. And so if you don't get your best lap first, then you're not going to be up there. I lost a shift on the first lap. So we had to settle for our backup lap. "

Woodhouse's Touring Car series Dodge SRT4 qualified in the 10th position, after his driver Brian Smith laid down a lap of 1:34.864 seconds. Smith, who was the fastest in the final practice session on Wednesday, said the team made some changes to the car before qualifying and lost some speed as a result.

"We changed our set-up trying to go a little bit quicker and the car got a little too loose. I got it out there and it was a little bit more of a handful to drive," said Smith of his qualifying run. "We knocked the toe out somehow and we had a little bit of a tire issue but all that will get worked out before the race and we feel like we should be good for tomorrow."

3R Racing rookie driver Dan Aweida was the highest qualifying Dodge SRT4 in the Touring car series, posting his first-career top-10 qualifying effort after an eventful final practice session Wednesday. He spun out after a wheel hub fell off his car. With no hub in the 3R Racing inventory, and no one at the track with one either, a trip to Atlanta was necessary to purchase one. The hub arrived just in time for Aweida to post his first ever top-10 qualifying effort. Despite the drama, he posted a fast time and will take the green flag in the ninth position on Friday.

"Its exciting. I'm really happy. We made some set-up changes, changed springs, and that really seemed to help, and the new tires did too obviously," said Aweida after qualifying. "We had a couple of good laps. The car was great. 3R does a phenomenal job with these cars. "

Aweida was one of two Dodge drivers to post a top-10 starting spot. Three of Dodge's four SRT4 drivers qualified in the top-12.

Robb Holland, who was making his first start at Road Atlanta, picked up speed from his practice session and posted a 12th place qualifying effort. Fellow rookie and SRT4 driver Hal Brown of Blacksburg, Va., will roll off the starting grid in the 24th position.

Smith, Aweida, Holland and Brown race Friday morning at 10:55 a.m., and Tommy Archer and the boys of the Speed World Challenge GT series takes the green flag at 4:55 p.m. later that day.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Tommy Archer , Hal Brown , Brian Smith , Robb Holland , Dan Aweida