Chevy S-10s Dominate Inaugural NHRA Pro Stock Truck Season; Jeter Wins Final; Kopp Collects Championship
POMONA, Calif.; Nov. 14, 1998 -- Chevy S-10s dominated the inaugural season of the newest NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series category, Pro Stock Truck, winning nine of the 12 events and claiming both the national elapsed time and top speed records. Brad Jeter, in the Jeter Motorsports Chevy S-10, won the Winston Finals today at Pomona Raceway, while Larry Kopp, in the Accurate Binding/Arma Coatings/G-Force Transmissions Chevy S-10, captured the class' first Winston Championship. The top five in championship points drove Chevy S-10s.
There were seven different winners this season, as this new series for compact pickups proved popular among sportsman racers who relished the idea of moving up into an affordable professional NHRA category. Forty-three drivers earned points in 1998, with as many as 34 trucks competing in recent events.
Kopp won the most titles, five; Chevy S-10 drivers John Lingenfelter, Bob Panella Jr., Tim Freeman and Jeter each won one. Kopp holds the national e.t. record of 7.594 seconds; Lingenfelter, in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevy S-10, established the top speed record of 178.28 mph this weekend.
In points, Lingenfelter is No. 2, followed by Jeter, Panella and Jerry Haas.
Jeter, 23, of Greenville, S.C., defeated the Kessinger Motorsports Chevy S-10 of Tim Freeman, 33, of Roan Mountain, Tenn., today, claiming his first professional title with a 7.660-second pass at 175.09 mph to Freeman's 7.708/175.33. This was Jeter's second final-round appearance and moved him from fifth to third in points. He eliminated the top two points leaders, Kopp and No. 1 qualifier Lingenfelter (7.617/178.28), en route to the final.
"I can't say enough about my crew," said Jeter, a full-time racer. "They have done a great job. They gave me a great Chevy S-10 ever run. All I had to do was my job. I wanted to close this year with a win, and that means a lot to me."
Kopp needed only to qualify to clinch the championship, and he did that in fine style, qualifying comfortably in fifth with a 7.653-second pass at 175.91 mph.
"It's just a dream come true," said Kopp, 51, of Baltimore, Md. "I won my first championship back in 1976 as a sportsman and now to win a professional championship is almost too amazing for words. It was our goal right from the beginning." Kopp was eliminated by Jeter in the second round.
The 1999 Pro Stock Truck schedule includes 14 events, beginning and ending in Pomona.