Rodger Brogdon admits to being pleased to have earned a spot in the elimination field of the sixth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, but by qualifying 15th in the 16-car field, he knows he won't have an easy path to the winner's circle.
"We shook the tires in the first run, so we started the whole weekend out behind the 8-ball," Brogdon said. "Then we had to change motors after the second run, and we just made two bad runs today. After all that, I'm just happy to be in. It's a feat, believe me.
"If you miss one qualifying run in this deal here, it's a serious handicap."
Brogdon coaxed a best of 6.741 at 204.70 mph out of his '09 MAVTV/Lucas Oil Pontiac GXP, a fair bit behind his scheduled first-round opponent Jason Line, who zipped to a 6.697 at 205.94 mph.
Although he refused to use it as an excuse, Brogdon and the rest of his peers are dealing with unusually high temperatures in Ohio with track temperatures nearing 150 degrees. As one might expect, finding traction has been an issue.
"We've had too much transmission in it the whole race," Brogdon said. "I can't get it to third gear without spinning the tires like crazy. We're all dealing with it, some better than others, obviously.
"They're saying we'll have some cloud cover tomorrow and that it may get a touch cooler. I'm certainly hoping for the biggest change in the weather we can get so everybody will start with a clean slate. The track was bald out there the last session, but everybody went down it. It wasn't too bad. (Ron) Krisher went a 6.70, so the track could hold some numbers, we just had too much transmission for this heat.
"We'll take a shot tomorrow. That's all we can do."