Houston John Lingenfelter seeks Pro Stock Truck balance

BAYTOWN, Texas - In the great legend of Yin and Yang, every positive force has an equal and opposite negative force. The impending clash between the two energies creates great stability in the outerworld force that surrounds human life. In...

BAYTOWN, Texas - In the great legend of Yin and Yang, every positive force has an equal and opposite negative force. The impending clash between the two energies creates great stability in the outerworld force that surrounds human life.

In drag racing, those forces are constantly pushing and pulling at each other.

NHRA Pro Stock Truck competitor John Lingenfelter feels like he's been right in the middle of the metaphysical tug of war for the last year.

Lingenfelter, 54, from Decatur, Ind., was voted the driver most likely to win a Pro Stock Truck championship before the category's inaugural season. He finished second overall in the final standings during the 1998 campaign, coming up short to eventual title-winner Larry Kopp. Last season, Lingenfelter suffered an extreme setback, and finished 12th in the point standings with no final round appearances.

Armed with a new GMC Sonoma for 2000, Lingenfelter is ready to move back to the top of the order. While his first two events of the season haven't produced the winning results he's looking for, he knows it's only a matter of time before his Summit Racing Sonoma is being photographed in the winner's circle.

Clearly, he's ready for the Yang to start overtaking the Yin.

"Sometimes the breaks go your way, and sometimes they don't," said Lingenfelter, one of the leading Pro Stock Truck drivers for the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil, April 13-16, at Houston Raceway Park.

"We've had transmission problems at two races, and we've been meticulous going through them," the former NHRA Comp Eliminator competitor added. "We magniflux everything and tear them apart every race to try to eliminate any possibility of error or defects. The parts we've broken are not pieces that normally break. At the same time, we always feel that eventually things will balance out."

Speaking of balance, the competition in Pro Stock Truck has reached a new level of parity. Several new drivers, like current points leader Greg Stanfield, teammates Steve Johns and Rob Slavinski, and a resurgent Randy Daniels have moved into the spotlight to add more drama to each and every round of eliminations.

"The field at Gainesville was one of the most competitive we've had in quite some time," Lingenfelter said of the quickest Pro Stock Truck lineup in NHRA history. "We should have been able to qualify a little better, but didn't get it done. Then we broke a transmission in the first round on Sunday. We were pretty disappointed."

So goes the luck for Lingenfelter these days. However, he is optimistic that the tide is about to change. He plans to keep working hard and eventually he'll get his second career victory. His last win came during the '98 season at Sonoma, Calif.

"The competition is really tough right now," Lingenfelter said. "Anyone in the Pro Stock Truck category has a chance of winning a race. The field is that competitive. We want to win the championship, but placing in the top-five in Winston points would be great. With the feedback we've been getting so far, I really think that's possible."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Kopp , John Lingenfelter , Steve J