RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, won his third Pro Stock Truck title of the year, his second consecutive, when he defeated MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, in the all-Chevy S-10 final. This was Randy's fourth straight final...
RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, won his third Pro Stock Truck title of the year, his second consecutive, when he defeated MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, in the all-Chevy S-10 final. This was Randy's fourth straight final round of the season after not qualifying at the season-opener in Pomona, Calif.
It was one of the closest races of the day, as Daniels crossed the finish stripe just three-thousandths of a second ahead of Coughlin (7.497/179.90 for Daniels, 7.503/179.37 for Coughlin). Coughlin was the master of reaction times today, with a .469 against Rick Jones, a .464 to defeat Steve Johns (although Johns had a slightly better reaction time, .460), and a .442 against defending Winston Champion Bob Panella Jr. Daniels knew he had to produce a near-perfect reaction time in the final round, and Coughlin knew he had pull out every stop to beat the two-time winner. Each driver did his job. Daniels launched with a .443, Coughlin with a .440 (.400 is perfect), but it was the Daniels Racing horsepower that nipped the Richard Maskin V8 power at the finish line. This was Coughlin's first final round appearance this season after DNQing in the last three events and qualifying No. 14 at the Pomona season-opener. Daniels eliminated Lou Ficco, Larry Seay and John Coughlin en route to the final.
DANIELS: ON COUGHLIN'S CONSISTENTLY STRONG REACTION TIMES: "Somebody had to tell me that before it was said and done. I knew what I had to do. I almost didn't do it. That's as close a race as I've been involved in in a long time to come out on the winning side of it. When I put it in high gear at the one-eighth mile I wasn't sure we were going around him, it was a real tight drag race. After I passed the finish line I saw the win light on the wall. It's amazing how a driver learns to look at that light just past the finish line. I can see that (light) when I can't find the shift lights or anything else. That's the most important one from the time you leave the starting line, to the driver anyway. The greatest thing about this win is I did it in front of my whole family, best friends, my girlfriend, her mom, aunts and uncles (Randy is from Grantsboro, N.C., 200 miles away). There are way more than 30 people here, including people I haven't seen in years." WHAT DID THEY SAY TO YOU AFTER THE WIN? "They all talked about how they hollered and screamed rooting me to victory." WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND ROUND WHEN YOU GOT LOOSE? "It really got loose. Probably a smart person would have backed out. I knew I had my front end in front of Larry Joe (Seay). I wanted the victory real bad. That little Chevy S-10 straightened itself out and went to the finish line. I think it was about the time it was going over the bumps. That was the first time I felt the bumps. Every other time we passed over them. At that particular time we had some peculiar graphs on the computer. It went fast enough to give us lane choice, even after all that excitement."
COUGHLIN: "I had him by three thousandths (of a second) at the starting line, he outran me by six thousandths. It was a race that can't get a whole lot better, or closer -- an excellent race by both parties. Both Chevy S-10s ran real good." ON MAKING IT INTO THE FINAL: "I haven't been up there in awhile. As the weekend progressed I really felt we had a player. We just worked on getting it straight and consistent, making a little more power here and there. I think we will go to Atlanta and try again. I think we will be all right." ON THE EXCELLENT LIGHTS: "They progressively got better each round. As a matter of fact, I tried to stage a little differently in the final, I went in a little further. I should have gone even further yet. I'm glad to come back and qualify and be able to race on Sunday again. I couldn't ask for a better win except for another four thousandths (of a second). But I'm not complaining."
Note: Mike Coughlin has won twice before, in 1999, at Englishtown and Indianapolis.
Defending Winston Champion and points leader BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, who has reached the final round in three of the first four races of the 2000 season, winning twice, was eliminated in the semifinals today. He was defeated by MIKE COUGHLIN on a holeshot advantage (7.513/179.42, .487 R/T for Panella, 7.526/179.23, .442 R/T for Coughlin).
PANELLA: "I made a bad run, I kind of forgot how to drive. I've been having trouble the last couple of races. I don't know that it's all me, I think it's partially the S-10 causing us not to leave the line like we should. I have to go back to my old setup and see what happens." ON THAT RUN: "I thought I could run fast enough to win. He had a good light and I had an average light. I knew that was going to be the dominating factor today and throughout the day, and it can be just as important in the final. " ON THE RACING LANES: "I think the left lane is all right. The track got hot today. We haven't seen that all weekend. We just didn't adjust for it properly." IT'S NOT THE RANDY AND BOB SHOW TODAY: "The way I got it figured is he's had a lot of good luck this weekend. He got loose in the second round and still won. He redlighted a week ago and still won. It's got to change."