Englishtown Pro Stock Truck Preview

PATTERSON KEEPING TEAM MOPAR FLAG RAISED HIGH IN PRO STOCK TRUCK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- In a category where Chevrolet S-10 pickups have been hauling trophies away at a rapid rate, Todd Patterson has been keeping the Team Mopar flag raised...

PATTERSON KEEPING TEAM MOPAR FLAG RAISED HIGH IN PRO STOCK TRUCK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- In a category where Chevrolet S-10 pickups have been hauling trophies away at a rapid rate, Todd Patterson has been keeping the Team Mopar flag raised high with his ever-improving Dodge Dakota. The Augusta, Kan. driver sits sixth in the Pro Stock Truck point standings, the first Dodge behind five Chevrolet S-10s. He hopes to move his entry on up the points ladder with a successful outing at the 30th annual Mopar Parts Nationals, May 20-23, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race is the sixth of 14 events for Pro Stock Truck competitors in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for 1999. "We've made great strides with the combination for our Dodge Dakota since we started the program last year," Patterson said. "We've found ways to develop more horsepower and that has allowed us to improve on our elapsed time and speed." He says he can tell a big difference in his truck's performance this season. "Last year I felt like I needed to steal rounds by out-driving my opponents," said Patterson, who posted a runner-up effort at Sears Point Raceway as his best outing of 1998. "We just didn't have the power at that time. Now we feel we have a chance to win with our power. We are constantly focusing on improving the power of our engines. We've also learned a lot about the truck, especially with the chassis and clutch." Patterson lost a narrow final round decision to current points leader Mark Osborne at Gainesville, Fla. He lost another race to Team Chevy at Houston Raceway Park, when Bob Panella beat him on a holeshot in the semi-finals. After suffering a rare DNQ at Virginia's Pennzoil Nationals, Patterson is ready to get his season back on track with a win at his sponsor's marquee event. "We would like nothing more than to get that first win at the Mopar Parts Nationals at Englishtown," Patterson said. "I could think of no better place to get a victory." The all-Chevy onslaught into the win column has been lead by Mark Osborne, Brad Jeter and Randy Daniels. Osborne, a former Pro Stock competitor, and Jeter, who started his drag racing career in southern Pro Modified action, have been extremely tough. "You've got to give them credit," Patterson said. "They've got the total package. They're both really good drivers, they have very good Jenkins power under the hood. It's not hard to understand why they're winning. We're knocking on the door and getting closer to that level. We hope in a few races people will place us in the same category. While those two guys have been strong, there's about eight trucks out here who can win at any time and about five more than could win under the right circumstances." Patterson, a former Competition Eliminator, knows he made the right choice when he decided to race in the new pro category. "It's been a lot of fun so far," Patterson said. "Obviously we have our sights set higher than seventh in points this season. The class has become very competitive in a very short amount of time. That just goes to show you what happens when you put the word pro in a category. It really makes all the drivers really serious. The fans have been very receptive. I think the sky is the limit for the class."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Brad Jeter , Todd Patterson , Randy Daniels