Two-time Snowball Derby winner Augie Grill has never been able to add “World Crown 300” winner to his resume. If Friday’s optional practice results were any indication, that stat could be changing Saturday at Gresham Motorsports Park.
Grill, of Hayden, Alabama, was the quickest of 25 Southern Super Series Super Late Models who took time on an optional practice day Friday at the Jefferson, Georgia half-mile, giving him hopes for another resume highlight come the end of 300 laps Saturday.
“It’s good on short runs,” said Grill, who enters the World Crown 300 winless in 2014. “We made about a 20 lap run and I was pretty happy with where it sayed right there. I was wanting to make one more long run at the end, but we ran out of time to do that. Hopefully we’ll do that first thing tomorrow and maybe be able to be a little bit better than we were here a month ago. I thought we were pretty good then, so hopefully we’ll be even better tomorrow.”
Grill finished fifth in the Southern Super Series’ first race at Gresham on July 12. To get even better than he was then, he stuck to his usual plan of not focusing on going fast for a qualifying run, but keeping the car fast in race trim.
“Most of the time if the car is good, you’re going to qualify good. Most of the time I never really change much to try to qualify fast, maybe gear, but we’ve got to race on what we qualify, so you can’t really do that. Hopefully we’ll be good both ways tomorrow.”
Jeff Choquette finished Friday’s practice second on the speed chart. The Florida driver was flagged the winner of the World Crown 300 in 2009, but was disqualified for an illegal transmission. He’s out for revenge in this year’s World Crown.
“We wanted to be sure we exhausted every option that we had so we didn’t leave anything undone,” said Choquette of his practice strategy Friday. “I feel like we’ve done that. We’ve been through probably 15 different setups, but we always seem to come back to square-one. The crew is working hard. We’re happy. From what I understand, talking to the locals, tomorrow is going to be a completely different day. This track changes by the minute. Hopefully we can keep up with the racetrack like we have the last two days and be good for the 300.”
Donnie Wilson, a three-time Southern Super Series winner in 2014, was third quick Friday.
“We struggled a lot today,” said Wilson. “That’s pretty good for being near the top of the chart, but we need to get better in the center of the corner. We’re fighting tight in the middle all day, but we’ve got another two and a half hours tomorrow. I feel pretty good where we’re at. It’s one of those deals where you just want to qualify in the top 10 and go from there.”
Vermont’s Brian Hoar, making his first Southern Super Series and World Crown 300 appearance, was fourth, followed by Stephen Nasse.
TJ Reaid was 10th quick in practice, but broke the Gleason rear end in his No. 41 for the fourth time in his racing season. Speed51.com caught up with Reaid on his way back to his Acworth, Georgia shop after practice and Reaid said that all of the rear ends in his shop are now broken, so he will not be competing in Saturday’s World Crown 300.
The 31st Annual World Crown 300 presented by Victory Junction race day action kicks off with Southern Super Series practice from 12:15-2:45pm ET at Gresham Motorsports Park. Qualifying will be held at 5:30pm with the 300-lap World Crown taking the green flag at approximately 9pm.
Click here for Friday’s Speed51.com Trackside Now coverage replay presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield. Photo credit: Speed51.com
Southern Super Series
World Crown 300 presented by Victory Junction
Overall Friday Optional Practice Results
|19||5K||Daniel Keene Jr||17.235|