JETER HOPES TO CARRY PRO STOCK TRUCK MOMENTUM INTO 1999 POMONA, Calif. -- If Brad Jeter had his way, the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season would have started the weekend immediately following the 1998 Winston Finals. ...
JETER HOPES TO CARRY PRO STOCK TRUCK MOMENTUM INTO 1999 POMONA, Calif. -- If Brad Jeter had his way, the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season would have started the weekend immediately following the 1998 Winston Finals.
If it did, Jeter would have been the easy pre-race favorite to win Pro Stock Truck. Riding high from an emotional career-first NHRA victory at the Finals, Jeter could have earned the win on sheer adrenaline alone.
Even with the short winter break between seasons, Jeter, from Greenville, S.C., is still hauling a truckload of momentum heading into the 39th annual AutoZone Winternationals, Feb. 4-7 at Pomona Raceway. The $1.7-million race is the season-opening event in the 22-race, $40-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for 1999.
"We hope we can pick up where we left off in 1998," said Jeter, 24. "We're coming out with guns loaded this season. We really want to win that Winston championship."
The intensity of Jeter's intentions could mean trouble for defending Pro Stock Truck champion Larry Kopp and a host of title contenders, including fellow Chevrolet S-10 drivers John Lingenfelter and Jerry Haas, Team Mopar drivers Todd Patterson and Bo Nickens and Ford's Roy Hill.
"Last year our goals were to win a race and finish in the top-10," Jeter said. "We were very happy with the results we had in 1998. Our main goal this year is to win the Winston championship. I think we have as good a chance as anybody."
If Jeter is as good as he was during the stretch run in 1998, he will definitely be a Winston championship contender. He drove his stealth black Chevrolet S-10 to three No. 1 qualifying efforts, three semi-final round appearances, one runner-up finish and the Winston Finals victory.
His late season driving heroics, combined with his strong reputation as one of the best in the business at the starting line, firmly positions his name among the contenders.
"It feels good to be considered among the best in the class," Jeter said. "To be honest, I'll be disappointed if we don't win the championship. It takes consistency to do it. During the last seven races last year we had one of the most consistent trucks out there. Our engine program is solid with Grumpy power (Bill Jenkins), and I have a crew that's committed to winning. I like our chances."
He admits, however, that the competition level in Pro Stock Truck will be greatly increased in 1999. He expects more first-time winners and plenty of new Winston championship challengers to emerge as the season unfolds.
"This season is going to be radically different than last year," Jeter said. "There's going to be many more trucks trying to qualify at each event it's going to become a lot tougher to win races. Last year everybody worked to get their programs into shape. This year I think you'll see some new teams make some noise. It's going to be very interesting."