Baytown, Texas - - One week ago at a test session at Desoto Memorial Dragway in Bradenton, Fla., anything and everything that could go wrong with the brand-new white truck driven by Charlie Greco, 50, from St. Davids, Penn., just outside ...
Baytown, Texas - - One week ago at a test session at Desoto Memorial Dragway in Bradenton, Fla., anything and everything that could go wrong with the brand-new white truck driven by Charlie Greco, 50, from St. Davids, Penn., just outside Philadelphia, did. Greco's truck is one of two team Pro Stock Trucks for 2001 fielded and owned by renowned chassis builder Jerry Haas, of Fenton, Mo.
Engine problems and transmission problems continually interrupted the test session forcing Greco and Haas to look toward Houston Raceway Park to shakedown and ready the truck for the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals scheduled for the weekend of February 1-4 at Pomona Dragway in Pomona, Calif.
"It's, for sure, that we're enjoying the weather in Bradenton," said Greco, as the test session in Bradenton was winding down. "But, of course, the reason for us being here is to shakedown the new Haas truck, get some laps on it, and see how we feel in it. We've had a little stroke of bad luck, but we're working our way through it. We did hurt one motor and we've had some transmission problems. All these problems seem fixable and should not dictate how we will run at Pomona.
"I feel comfortable in the truck. It's a dream to drive and handles very well. No problems that way. It's new team start-up blues you might say. I have every confidence that we will gel as a team and be ready come the opening race."
Team owner Haas indicated at Bradenton that his job was to have Greco's truck ready for the AutoZone Winternationals. "I'll analyze what we did here at Bradenton. I'll probably put our race motor in, and since Charlie (Greco) will not be at Houston next week, I'll make a couple of shakedown laps there to make sure that the truck is ready when we regroup at Pomona," said Haas, who has received the prestigious Car Craft All-Star Drag Racing Team award as Pro Stock Chassis Builder of the Year 13-times.
And shakedown the truck he did, recording a pass of 7.420 seconds at 181.59 mph over the Houston Raceway Park quarter-mile during testing on Thursday. Though unofficial, both the elapsed time and the speed are better than the existing NHRA national records for the Pro Stock Truck category. Bob Panella holds the NHRA elapsed time record at 7.428 seconds and Greg Stanfield set the NHRA speed standard at 180.69 mph.
Reflecting on the run, Haas had this to say, "The air was definitely good, but not like the air we had last year in Memphis. If it would have been like Memphis, rocket ship weather, we would have really been flying. It rolled in a little deep and left hard, carrying the front end. The truck felt really good. It was really smooth. Every time you put it in gear, you could feel the acceleration. (Co-crew chief) Jimmy (Gunther) did a heck of a job on the clutch. To run a (7.) 420 at 181.59, we're real happy with it.
"We had what we call our "gator" engine in on that run. It responded real well to the Chevy S-10 truck. The ("Grumpy") Jenkins horsepower is awesome. We love it. It runs good with our combination, 100 percent right. The white truck is now bedded down in the trailer until the Winternationals. Charlie (Greco) will be back at Pomona. I think you'll see him qualify this truck high right out of the trailer."
While business commitments kept Greco away from Houston Raceway Park, he is excited about Pomona. "Numbers like Jerry ran at Houston will excite even the dead," said Greco, who raced his own independent Pro Stock Truck team last season. "We can go to Pomona loaded for bear; we're chomping at the bit to get there. You can rest assured that whatever problems we had are now behind us. I'll do the best I can."
"Now we can turn our attention to the orange truck, our second truck driven by Greco's teammate Matt Rhoades. He will be making licensing passes this weekend. Rhoades had a good outing when he tested at Bradenton and I don't feel he should have any problems receiving his Pro Stock Truck license here in Houston," added Haas. "After he gets his license, we'll start gassing on the orange truck and see how fast it will go. Then it's off to Pomona."
-Jerry Haas Racing