Arend steps up in final session, moves to 13th spot
Sonoma, Saturday: Jeff Arend went into the final Sonoma session sitting on the bump spot, with four cars below the line. One by one, the four potential assassins failed to better Arend's 5.042, and as he pulled to the line in his Techron Impala, he knew he was safe for the race field. Moments later, he powered to a clean 4.922, while also running a session-best 316.60 mph, to move up from the 16th spot to the 13th. He will face Tony Pedregon in round one.
"Our guys felt really confident going up there, or at least as confident as you can feel after having been part of the first session, which was a total mess," Arend said. "Here, with the sun on the track, you really can't tell what the conditions are going to be like, but the analysis my guys put together was that it was a 4.91 to a 4.93 race track, so running the 4.92 was great for us. We were the third-quickest of the session, and we ran top speed of the session, so in comparison to everyone else we're not only in the game, we're ahead of it.
"It is a relief knowing you're in when you run, because so many little things can go wrong on any lap and, had one of those four guys knocked us out, we would have all been sweating bullets over things like broken blower belts, or faulty burst panels, or whatever. I guess, in hindsight, it would have been big and dramatic to get bumped out by those guys and then bump our way back in, but I'd rather be safely in than dramatic. We're in, we ran very well, and we're ready for tomorrow. We have to run a very fast car in round one, and a great driver, but we'll race the track and see what that earns us."
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