PRO STOCK TRUCK: BOB PANELLA JR. MAKES A 'COMEBACK' TO WIN HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, defeated RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, in the pair's fourth final-round match-up this season. Daniels...
PRO STOCK TRUCK: BOB PANELLA JR. MAKES A 'COMEBACK' TO WIN HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR
BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, defeated RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, in the pair's fourth final-round match-up this season. Daniels has been on a roll this season, winning the last three events, two of them against Panella. But it was defending Winston Champion Panella's turn today, as he turned his luck around by defeating Daniels by eight thousandths of a second after a short rain delay to take his third title of the year. Panella made it evident all day that he had the pickup truck to beat, with outstanding elapsed times ranging from 7.480 seconds in the second round to defeat John Coughlin, a 7.494 in the first round to eliminate Jeff Naiser, and a 7.509 in the semifinals against Greg Stanfield. He was there for the taking in the final, as he recorded his worst e.t. of the day, yet managed to eliminate Daniels with a 7.530-second pass at 177.42 mph. Panella also beat Daniels at the Christmas Tree, with a .438 reaction time to Daniels' .441. Daniel's elapsed times today were never lower than a 7.511 in the second round, and his 7.535-second e.t. at 178.87 mph wasn't strong enough to take the title win.
PANELLA: HAS YOUR LUCK FINALLY CHANGED? "I hope. I hope that blue-and-white monkey is off my back. There's no doubt he (Daniels) is going to be there all year long. I have said all weekend long -- (Brad) Jeter and I talked about this on Saturday -- I was trying not to get frustrated, but I felt I was getting the short end of the stick. He said, 'you have to keep your head up high' -- everybody did. It's hard. Last year when Jeter and I and (Mark) Osborne went at it we all had our good spells. They were not quite as long as Randy's. It finally broke and maybe we can get a good points lead between now and the summer break." YOUR REACTION TIMES HAVE IMPROVED: "I worked on that. I spent the last couple of weeks doing what I could do to try cutting good lights. We went testing in Sacramento just for that reason, to cut better lights. We thought we might have learned something, although the conditions were terrible. We made progress. I literally wore out the practice tree; I had to get a new one. Maybe it's paying off." ON THE RACE: "I went up there with the attitude that I felt I was in the worst of the two lanes, if there was such a thing. I knew the rain would probably help. I knew I had nothing to lose. I knew I had to cut the best light, have the best launch for the conditions, and it worked. It was probably one of the best runs in that right lane; I can't ask for anything more than that. Of all the times I should have been able to do it, this wasn't one of them, without lane choice. But that's how he won those last three races too; maybe that's a good thing."
DANIELS: YOU HAD TO BE THINKING ABOUT PANELLA'S EXCELLENT E.T.s TODAY: "Yes, but we had lane choice in the final. We thought it would be a factor, but the NHRA did a dynamite job prepping the track; the lanes were super equal in the final. He got me a little bit on the tree and a little bit at the finish line. But we were actually running him down. We were making a good move on him at the finish line. I thought I was going to catch him, but we ran out of race track. I just wanted to go out and do my job as best I could. He did a better job at both ends of the race track today." ON YOUR BROKEN STREAK: "I knew my streak was going to end; I just didn't want it to end this weekend. I really would have liked that 'Double-Up' money ($10,000 from Holley for winning both the Dominator Duel and the event). That would have been a sweet victory. He knew we were there. We didn't make it easy for him; he had to earn it. We both ran a nice, clean race."
PRO STOCK: KJ OUT IN SEMIS
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, defeated Richie Stevens in the first round, then disposed of Tony Gillig in the second, but was then eliminated by Troy Coughlin in the semifinals. Kurt was first off the starting line, but his car wiggled at mid-track. That was all it took for Coughlin to take the win, 6.896/198.35 to 6.966/197.31.
KURT: "The car felt good in first and second gear, but as soon as I shifted into third it spun the tires. I guess I was fortunate to win in the right lane in the second round after the Safety Safari sprayed the track with traction compound. The track had changed by the time we ran the semi-final, and the right lane wasn't the lane to race in. We definitely made progress. I think we have a good cool weather setup and a good hot weather setup. We're ready for thick air and thin air."