With a second-place qualifying effort, Chad Green’s 2019 Southern Nationals outing started out in fine fashion. However, a trip to Atlanta Dragway’s gravel trap in the opening round of eliminations, followed by a centerline violation in round two, spoiled his race weekend.
Green ran 5.77 at 251.91 mph on Friday to slot his 2019 Camaro–one of only two nitrous entries among 25 Pro Mods on the grounds (and the only one to qualify)–directly behind top qualifier Steve Jackson at 5.76 and 250.69 in his supercharged ’17 Camaro. Alex Laughlin placed his twin-turboed ’18 Camaro third with a 5.79 at 256.84, which stood up as top speed of the meet for the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mods Series.
“Last couple of races we’ve done really good in qualifying,” said Green who started fourth a week ago in Charlotte and second at the previous race in Houston. “So we feel like we’ve got a really good car, feel like we’ve got a handle on it. We just haven’t been able to get it done on Sunday. And today was another one of those days, so yeah, we’ve gotta’ work on that.”
Green’s race day opened with a 5.81 win at 250.37 mph over Clint Satterfield and his ’69 Camaro. But that’s where the good news ended for Green, who didn’t feel the familiar tug of parachutes as he crossed the quarter-mile finish line.
“The chutes did come out, they just got all tangled up. We’re not sure what happened, maybe they got a little wet with all that rain we had yesterday, we’re not really sure,” Green said.
“It happens pretty quick. You’re waiting for them to hit and when it didn’t happen I looked up to see that my handle was deployed, and it was, so at that point it was just a matter of get on the brakes, not crash, and get it to the sand.”
Despite nearly reaching the catch net at the end of “the beach,” Green said the car suffered no more than cosmetic damage to its one-piece nose.
“Nothing structural to the chassis or anything, so we got lucky there. We were able to patch it up and had to dig a few pounds worth of sand and gravel out, but that was about it,” he said. “It’s just too bad we weren’t able to take advantage.
“But I want to say a special thanks to all the other crews that came and helped us out. We had guys here from Stevie Fast’s team and also some of (Jim and Steven) Whiteley’s and some from the Elite team, too. We definitely would not have made it up there for second round without their help, so a big shoutout to all those guys.”
It looked like an easy pass to the semis as Green launched with a .055 light while the blown ’69 Chevelle of Doug Winters went red by -.019 in round two. However, before even reaching half track his Camaro suddenly lurched back-and-forth across the right lane and ultimately crossed the centerline, bringing the “first-or-worst” infraction rule into play and handing the win back to Winters based on a lane swap being worse than an early leave.
“I didn’t know he went red or I might’ve handled things different. The car was really upset because we ended up having to change motors at the last minute and we weren’t even able to warm it up so the motor was at 70 degrees when we started it up. It just brought in the power a little differently and it unsettled the whole car,” Green explained.
“I just wish I could’ve done a little better driving job and kept it in my own lane.”
Still, he was happy to be heading home to Midland, TX, with his car safely tucked away and all four corners intact.
“Overall, we still feel really good about things,” Green said. “We just have to get the car bandaged up and ready for Virginia. Already looking forward to it.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019