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ProtectTheHarvest.com's Brogdon all smiles after first day of Atlanta qualifying

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ATLANTA (May 16) - With a season that hasn't started the way he had hoped, ProtectTheHarvest.com driver Rodger Brogdon's first day of qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals may be the turning point of his 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Brogdon's Chevrolet Camaro bulleted down Atlanta Dragway in both qualifying rounds, but it was during Q2 that the team really made a statement. With a pass of 6.530 seconds at 212.59 mph, Brogdon not only qualified in the second position but set the track speed record in the process.

"We knew we had a chance of going fast in Q1," Brogdon said. "I was thinking we would be around midfield by the end of the day. With having a different engine this weekend, we had to run a different combination all the way through the entire car.

"I really thought we could run a 6.52 when we got up to the starting line for Q2, maybe quicker. I ended up running a 6.530 and it spun all the way through third, fourth, and fifth gears. I know I can go faster Saturday, at least a 6.51 or maybe even a 6.50."

Friday was a big test for Brogdon and his team, as they are using an engine from Elite Motorsports this weekend. The hope is that using an engine from another competitive Pro Stock team can help Brogdon locate the reason for his slow start to the season while his in-house engine program focuses on development for the future.

"I don't think I can go fast enough to take the No. 1 spot tomorrow," Brogdon said, "but I do think I can go even faster and keep my No. 2 spot. After how this year has gone so far, I couldn't be happier to be in this position. I knew we were going to go fast this weekend, but I didn't imagine I'd be sitting second after the first day in Atlanta."

Brogdon will look to better his time when Pro Stock qualifying continues at 12:30 and 3:15 p.m. ET, Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry qualifying highlights at 6 p.m., Saturday, and elimination action at 9 p.m., Sunday.