Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck
Driver: Sam Tompkins
NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series
47th Annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
August 29-September 3, 2001
Indianapolis Raceway Park -- Clermont, Indiana
Small mishap behind him, Sam Tompkins optimistic about Indy
Clermont, Ind. - - Last Wednesday, August 22, as Sam Tompkins stood surveying the damage to his Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck, the results of a stuck throttle and a brush with the Atlanta Dragway retaining wall during a testing session, the Atlanta driver felt it was near impossible for him to make the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals being contested over Labor Day weekend. To Tompkins' rescue stepped chassis builder Jerry Haas and auto painter Jim Hooker.
"When I got out of the truck, all I could see was a lot of damage to the nose and front fenders and additional damage to rear spoiler. I thought to myself, 'I'll never be ready for Indy.' So, the first thing I did when we got the truck back to the trailer was to call Jerry (Haas). He said, 'Get it up here, we'll get it ready.' So I took off for Fenton, Mo.
"The only reason that I am able to go to Indy this year is because of the work at the chassis shop of Jerry Haas. He and his people went non-stop for three to four days and got the truck repaired. They then sent it on to Jim Hooker to be painted and the end result is that I will, repeat, will be able to race at Indy. My heartfelt thanks go out to all the guys who made this possible," said Tompkins, who was uninjured in the mishap.
"It was important for us to go to Indy. With NHRA making a decision to eliminate the Pro Stock Truck class in 2002, we must find another class in which to compete next season. To do so, we must do well at Indy so that we can attract a strong marketing partner so that we can compete competitively, hopefully at the professional level.
"I am very optimistic about Indy. Our power plant from Bob Panella Engines is the best ever, giving us our best opportunity to qualify. I am now looking forward to the start of qualifying on Friday. The one additional qualifying pass will give us more time to get dialed-in.
"Again I want to thank Jerry Haas and all the team at his shop, Jim Hooker, all the guys at Bob Panella Motorsports, and to my family and crew for getting this Chevy S-10 ready to race at Indy," concluded Tompkins.
Qualifying for Pro Stock Truck begins at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, August 31, with a single pass. Two additional qualifying passes are scheduled for Saturday, September 1, at 11:45 a.m. (ET) and 4:35 p.m. (ET). The final two qualifying passes will take place at 10 a.m. (ET) and 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, September 2, thus setting the 16-truck field for eliminations. Final eliminations for all classes will get underway at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Labor Day, with winners being crowned in all professional classes by late afternoon.