PRO STOCK TRUCK: PANELLA HOLDS ON TO NO. 1; GRACIA AND FARR COMPLETE SHOWDOWN FIELD The temperature (high 80s) and humidity (60 per cent) this afternoon prevented any major changes in the Pro Stock Truck qualifying order, following this...
PRO STOCK TRUCK: PANELLA HOLDS ON TO NO. 1; GRACIA AND FARR COMPLETE SHOWDOWN FIELD
The temperature (high 80s) and humidity (60 per cent) this afternoon prevented any major changes in the Pro Stock Truck qualifying order, following this morning's session. Defending Winston Showdown champion RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, qualified No. 3 this morning (7.676/175.87) and was the quickest in the afternoon session (7.685/176.35). BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, held on to his No. 1 position, which he bettered this morning with a 7.637-second pass at 176.56 mph. Eight trucks will compete in eliminations tomorrow.
Taking the two open qualifying spots for the Pro Stock Truck Showdown were JEFF GRACIA, PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10 (Panella's teammate), and STEVEN FARR, JERRY HAAS RACE CARS CHEVY S-10. Gracia qualified fourth with a 7.682/175.25 pass; Farr in sixth, 7.696/175.07.
PANELLA: "It was a little cooler this morning and it will probably be for the race tomorrow. We may have got a little bit aggressive tonight, but we know what we have to do tomorrow; we're looking forward to it."
DO YOU HAVE THE ATTITUDE HERE THAT THERE'S NOTHING TO LOSE?
"Coming here I felt way more relaxed. Now I'm kind of in racing mode. I want to win the race now. I wanted to qualify No. 1; we accomplished that. We wanted to qualify Jeff's S-10, and we got him in. Maybe we can win the race tomorrow and win some money. It will be a big boost for the rest of the year."
ON THE $2,000 PRIZE FOR QUALIFYING NO. 1 AND $15,000 PRIZE:
"It's a far cry from Top Fuel and Funny Car. At least we're here and hopefully we can take some of the money and it will help us out." IF YOU AND GRACIA WIN YOUR FIRST ROUNDS YOU'LL HAVE EACH OTHER IN THE SECOND ROUND: "Points-wise we know what we have to do. We were going to switch S-10s coming into this race. H e was going to drive my truck. I was seeded no matter what I was driving. That way he would be guaranteed a spot. We decided not to do that. I didn't want to jeopardize our program. As it was, he got in anyway. Let the faster man win. If there were points on the line we would have to do some talking in the trailer."
GRACIA: "It's pretty neat. It's quite an accomplishment. You have all these guys fighting for two spots. To be in one of those two spots is pretty exciting. It's supposedly an all-star race, so you kind of qualify to be an all-star."
DID YOU HAVE ANY EDGE HERE?
"It not being a points race we experimented with some stuff. Chassis-wise it helped and the S-10 responded. There was something in the chassis we fought all year. We were able to experiment with that and we tried it here and we were fourth quickest truck and that's pretty much the cream of the crop of Pro Stock Truck drivers out here. To qualify in the top half of this field is pretty rewarding for the team and everybody."
ON FACING MIKE COUGHLIN IN THE FIRST ROUND:
"We qualified almost exactly the same. I out-qualified him by three or four thousandths (of a second). It's pretty even. If we both make good clean runs, whoever leaves first will win. I think every race tomorrow will be decided on the starting line."
IF YOU BEAT MIKE AND PANELLA WINS HIS ROUND, YOU WILL FACE EACH OTHER:
"If we both make it to the second round, one of us will be fighting for the $15,000 in the final round."
ARE THERE TEAM RULES?
"We really don't have any team rules. We go up there and stage them up and the guy who does the best job is going to win."
FARR: "Awesome. It's an honor. You are running for two spots. There are other trucks here that could take those two spots, but we were lucky to get one of them. I think we have a chance to do very well."
YOU'RE IMPROVING THE MORE EVENTS YOU RUN:
"The S-10 is coming to me. I had to get my shift points down to get used to the truck. Now that I'm doing that, I'm able to adjust the S-10 towards me. I'm getting better and better on the (Christmas) Tree; we have been working at it. I haven't been working on that this weekend at all. But for the first round I feel more comfortable that I will be able to cut a very good light; better than normal. Normally I run .450s. I'm trying to cut it down to .420s, if possible."
DO YOU LIKE THIS FORMAT?
"I'd like it better if it were a 16-truck field next year. That would be nice. It's the neatest facility I have ever been to. It's amazing. I love the mountains. When you go through the lights, you pull the chute and see the hills. It's neat."
DANIELS: "We were just testing parts all weekend. We decided to go back to what we knew worked in that last round. It kind of got us behind, but we won from No. 3 last year and so we're going to try to do it again this year."
DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE WITH PANELLA RUNNING SO STRONG?
"Not really. He's been off and on all year long. We have a few more things we can play around with that should make us faster. There are so many fast trucks right now. Steven Farr in Jerry Haas' S-10 picked up; Panella's No. 2 truck (Gracia) is real fast now. Both of the Jeg's S-10s can pick up at anytime. It's going to be a real dogfight tomorrow. It could very well be the three toughest rounds of competition all year long. It would be a real thrill to double up and have an early birthday present."
NOTE: It was Randy's birthday last year when he won the inaugural Pro Stock Truck Winston "showdown." This year his birthday falls on next Tuesday, July 11.