St Louis John Coughlin Wins Pro Stock Truck

Madison, Ill. (June 24) - Tonight at the Fourth Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals, the Pro Stock Truck class would see it's first new face of the year in the winner's circle. John Coughlin defeated Bob Panella in the final round for his first...

Madison, Ill. (June 24) - Tonight at the Fourth Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals, the Pro Stock Truck class would see it's first new face of the year in the winner's circle. John Coughlin defeated Bob Panella in the final round for his first victory of the season. Coughlin defeated Panella on a hole-shot with a .408 of a second reaction time to Panella's .494. Coughlin would run a slower E.T. of 7.614 / 176.35 mph but it was enough to hold off Panella's who ran a quicker 7.546 / 177.44 mph.

"We ran good and we're going to win some more of those things," said Coughlin. "My goal was to try to have the best reaction time I possibly could, get the shifts on time and with a little luck, maybe we could beat them. It just worked out that we did.

"What can I say. My brothers went out early today and I had all of Team JEG'S behind me," said John. "The guys on the team make all of this possible. They are the one's that make me look good."

On his way to the final-round, Coughlin would defeat Jeff Gracia, Randy Daniels, and Brian Self. Panella defeated Rob Slavinski, Rick Jones, and Mark Whisnant to get to the final round.

Rob Slavinski, driver of the Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10, picked up where he left off four races ago when he qualified his truck in the 15th position for Saturday nights race. Salvinski lost in Round 1 to Winston Champion Bob Panella, but was undaunted.

"Things went according to plan this weekend," said Slavinski. "We have been working hard to turn this truck around. We know it takes time. Our plan for this race was to qualify, and I'm happy with that. From here we plan on working on our consistency, and to start going some rounds."

Todd Patterson, driver of the Dodge Motorsports Dakota, is also a driver that experienced problems earlier in the year. Patterson has qualified for the last four races, and in the top half of the field last weekend. Patterson entered eliminations in the fifth spot, and was paired against Steve Johns in Round 1. Although Johns defeated Patterson in Round 1, when the Dodge Dakota experienced ignition problems, Patterson is positive about the future.

"We had ignition problems in the last session of qualifying," said Patterson. "We tried to fix it for today, but I guess we didn't find the problem. It's to bad, too. We where out in front of him by .030 of a second, and then the truck just fell on it's face.

"We will go home now and fix the problem. With our six weeks off we will concentrate on getting ready for Indy. We have the horsepower. Now we will work on getting the truck right. Hopefully we will have a new truck by Indy.Either way we will be ready to race in Indy."

The next stop on the NHRA Drag Racing series is the Winston Show Down in Bristol, Tenn. July 7-9.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Todd Patterson , Jeff Gracia , Mark Whisnant , Brian Self , Steve J