INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 6, 1998 -- Larry Kopp won his fourth title of the inaugural 1998 Pro Stock Truck season today at the U.S. Nationals, round 8 of the new 12-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series category. Kopp's victory in his Accurate...
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 6, 1998 -- Larry Kopp won his fourth title of the inaugural 1998 Pro Stock Truck season today at the U.S. Nationals, round 8 of the new 12-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series category. Kopp's victory in his Accurate Binding/Arma Coatings/G-Force Transmissions Chevy S-10 was the sixth for the brand and places Kopp in a 131-point lead over John Lingenfelter and his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy S-10. Jerry Haas, in another S-10, holds on to third (737-606-503). Haas advanced to the second round after defeating Ronnie Sox (Dodge), then was eliminated by Mike Coughlin's Chevy S-10.
Kopp (No. 1 qualifier for the fifth time), of Baltimore, Md., easily defeated Bob Panella Jr. (No. 2 qualifier), of Stockton, Calif., in the final round as Panella's Chevy S-10 slowed to a 10.803-second pass after losing traction at 250 feet. Kopp sailed to the finish line with a 7.760-second pass at 173.77 mph. Kopp defeated Mike Mahon (Ford), Todd Patterson (Dodge), and Lingenfelter en route to the final in NHRA's most prestigious event of the season. He also established track records here: one for low e.t., a 7.709-second pass in the first round against Mahon, and one for top speed, 174.58 mph, set in the same pass.
"This was a great win. I won three races back to back this year; this is just as exciting as winning three back to back," he said. "We tested here last week, we made 17 passes in two days. We were ready to come here and win. That was our main goal. After being runner-up here twice (in the Sportsman category), I said to myself I can't cry, I can't cry. It's just unbelievable."
This was the largest Pro Stock Truck field of the season, with 30 compact pickups vying for 16 qualifying spots.
"Larry did a great job. A lot of the Chevy S-10s have been right up there," said Ron Stanley, Chevrolet S-10 Brand Manager. "Panella could have won this race if he didn't have a problem. I think this new series has delivered much, much faster than anyone had ever expected it to deliver. We've gained a lot more participants, we now have a large number of chassis builders, and we're getting more and more engine builders. That tells me that this series is going to continue, and continue strong. It's no longer a series that Chevrolet and Dodge are pushing. Chevy and Dodge are along for the ride and this program has a life of its own. It's a true pro series and it's recognized as a true pro series."
Next up for the Pro Stock Truck series is the Parts America Nationals in Topeka, Kan., on Oct. 1-3.