St Louis: Pro Stock Truck racers get warm welcome

Madison, Ill. (Pre Race) - This weekend the NHRA Drag Racing Series arrives in St. Louis, Mo. for the running of the third Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals. For most of the competitors of the Pro Stock Truck class they will be picking up where...

Madison, Ill. (Pre Race) - This weekend the NHRA Drag Racing Series arrives in St. Louis, Mo. for the running of the third Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals. For most of the competitors of the Pro Stock Truck class they will be picking up where they left off at Columbus last weekend.

"After our showing in Columbus, I am really looking forward to getting to St. Louis," said Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance Chevrolet S-10. "We qualified well in Columbus. With every pass in Columbus the truck just kept getting better. This weekend in St. Louis we want to build on that."

Rob Slavinski, driver of the Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10, would like to make this race in St. Louis the race where he gets back on track

"We are excited about going to St. Louis," said Slavinski. "In Columbus we made some changes to the truck that really brought it around. It is unfortunate that we lost the third qualifying session due to breakage. The truck was coming around and I believe that if we had not lost that third run we would have qualified.

"I feel confident going into St. Louis. We missed the field by .009 of a second in Columbus, so I know we have a good chance in St. Louis. Our plan is the same as our plan was in Columbus: to qualify. First we have to get qualify, then we can go from there. I think St. Louis is going to be the race where this Castrol Super Clean team makes a turn around."

Brian "Lump" Self, driver of the Roof-Tec Chevrolet S-10, talked about the racing surface at the racetrack on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Gateway International Raceway.

"Last year in St. Louis the racetrack was pretty good," said Self, "but the starting line was bad. The Safety Safari has been doing a good job lately preparing the tracks. In Columbus the racetrack was about even. You could go fast from either lane. That is the way all the racetracks should be. That way you can concentrate on what you can get out of the truck, not what the racetrack will hold.

"In St. Louis I want a re-run of my race against Randy (Daniels) last weekend. He beat me but the margin of victory was .011 seconds. Now that's a close race. I had it mashed to floor on the top end, but Randy drove past me. I know that if I get another chance it will end up different, with me crossing the finish line first."

St. Louis will also be the race where Craig and Dale Eaton return to NHRA competition after taking a short break to rework their motor program. Rick Watters, Crew Chief for Craig Eaton's ARI/ Dodge/PPG Dodge Dakota, and Dale Eaton's ATSCO/ Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota feels optimistic about the Mopar teams chances this weekend.

"We took the last two races off to work on our motors," said Water. "We were down on power and had not been qualifying. After the race in Atlanta we went back to our shop in Phoenix and decided to spend some time reworking our motors and trucks. We didn't want to rush coming back. We wanted to come back and be competitive. We took everything apart and made it as good as it could be. We spent a lot of time on the dyno and did some testing before heading to St. Louis. I believe that this weekend will arrive at the racetrack with more competitive trucks, and ready to race."

Qualifying at the Third Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals, Madison, Ill. begins on Thursday June 22, and continuing on Friday June 23. Eliminations will take place on Saturday June 24.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Whisnant