Houston: Pontiac Racing finals summary

BAYTOWN, Tex., March 25, 2001 - With his position atop the Winston Pro Stock Truck standings, it's quite uncommon for Chevy S-10 driver Randy Daniels to feel like a darkhorse. But after watching Bob Panella take the No. 1 qualifying ...

BAYTOWN, Tex., March 25, 2001 - With his position atop the Winston Pro Stock Truck standings, it's quite uncommon for Chevy S-10 driver Randy Daniels to feel like a darkhorse. But after watching Bob Panella take the No. 1 qualifying position yesterday, and then seeing Greg Stanfield driving an S-10 to a new national-record elapsed time of 7.395 seconds, you really couldn't blame Daniels for feeling that way. Those thoughts were cast aside after the Bailey Trucking S-10 driver used a holeshot to defeat Panella in the final round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

"We've had a dynamite weekend," said Daniels. "We came in here and did just about everything we wanted to do. We missed the national record, and yet we were so close but I wouldn't trade this win for the record or anything right now. Winning the race pays, the record provides nothing but bragging rights."

Daniels' S-10 advanced to the championship heat to face Panella's Chevy by defeating Victor Cagnazzi in round one, Mike Coughlin in round two and Jeff Gracia in round three. Daniels cut a .449 light and crossed the finish line with an elapsed time of 7.439 seconds at 180.94 mph. Panella's final-round numbers were 7.414 seconds at 181.67 mph. The margin of victory was 25-thousandth's of a second.

"My driving today was terrible," Daniels said. "I just tried to keep my head on straight for the final, took a stab at it and it turned out to be a halfway decent light - just enough to hold him (Panella) off. We were excited about the way this Chevy S-10 ran in qualifying, but it seemed like today we fell behind and suddenly became the darkhorse.

"We'll have to take a look at the runs we made this weekend to try and get ready for Vegas. I'm hoping when it's all said and done that we can be a contender for the championship this year. We came close last year, but then the last five races, with dad's health and my grandmother passing away, we kind of got behind. Nevertheless we had a great year and we're hoping to have a better one this year."

In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson drove his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier to the semifinal round before losing to Mark Pawuk. Jeg Coughlin Jr. advanced to round two before losing to Kurt Johnson. Mike Edwards, Ron Krisher and Troy Coughlin lost in round one. The race was won by Warren Johnson in a Pontiac Grand Am.

"This Cavalier's fast in high gear," said Johnson. "I just shift into fifth gear and smile. I had to dig back into my notes from 1999 to make the right suspension change for the track conditions today. We picked up five thousandths in the second round, and we won by three thousandths over Jeg, so that made the difference.

" I thought we might have a Johnson and Johnson final, but the right slick started shaking and shot me off toward the center line. I had to fight the car all the way down the track. A semi-final finish isn't bad, but we still left two rounds on the table. We had the potential to win today and we didn't. At least we learned what not to do!"

The Funny Car class saw teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. advance to round two in the Skoal Racing Chevy Camaros. Capps fell to Gary Densham and Johnson lost to Whit Bazemore. Chuck Etchells and Bob Gilbertson fell in round one. The race was won by Del Worsham in a Pontiac Firebird.

"We're competitive but not the guy to beat," said Johnson. "We didn't beat ourselves and smoke the tires or do anything stupid, but we just need to step it up a notch. I want to get past the second round. I've been there at every race and can't seem to get past it. We're consistent but we want to move on and put this Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro where it belongs - in the winner's circle."

Mike Dunn defeated Team Chevrolet driver Larry Dixon in the finals of Top Fuel. Dunn ran a 4.603 elapsed time at 324.98 mph to Dixon's 4.579-second lap at 319.45. Dunn gained his margin of victory with a starting line holeshot.

In the Sportsman categories, Chevrolet winners included Jim Hanig of Houston, Tex., in Super Stock, and Kevin Helms of Mineola, Tex., in Stock Eliminator.

The next stop on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour is the second annual SummitRacing.com Nationals on April 5 - 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

<pre> Pro Stock Race Winner: Warren Johnson (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.844ET/200.98MPH Pro Stock Runner-Up: Mark Pawuk (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.886ET/200.02MPH Chevrolet Pro Stock semifinalists: Kurt Johnson Pro Stock Top Qualifier: Mike Edwards (Chevrolet Cavalier) - 6.843ET/200.68MPH Pro Stock Top 10: 1. Warren Johnson (Grand Am) 2. Kurt Johnson (Cavalier) 3. Mark Pawuk (Grand Am) 4. Darrell Alderman (Dodge) 5. Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 6. Jim Yates (Grand Am) 7. Brad Jeter (Grand Am) 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Cutlass) 9. Mike Edwards (Cavalier) 10. Richie Stevens (Firebird)

Pro Stock Truck Winner: Randy Daniels (Chevy S-10) - 7.439ET/180.94MPH Pro Stock Truck Runner Up: Bob Panella (Chevy S-10) - 7.414ET/181.67MPH Chevrolet Pro Stock Truck semifinalists: Randy Daniels, Bob Panella, Greg Stanfield Pro Stock Truck Top Qualifier: Bob Panella (Chevy S-10) - 7.420ET/182.11MPH Pro Stock Truck Top 10: 1. Randy Daniels (Chevy S-10) 2. Greg Stanfield (Chevy S-10) 3. Bob Panella (Chevy S-10) 4. Jeff Gracia (GMC Sonoma) 5. Scott Perin (Chevy S-10) 6. Mike Corvo (GMC Sonoma) 7. Todd Patterson (Dodge Dakota) 8. Brian Self (Chevy S-10) 9. Mike Coughlin (Chevy S-10) 10. Don Smith (Chevy S-10)

Funny Car Winner: Del Worsham (Pontiac Firebird) - 4.852ET/311.63MPH Funny Car Runner-Up: John Force (Ford Mustang) - 4.859ET/303.09MPH Funny Car Top Qualifier: Del Worsham (Pontiac Firebird) - 4.8105ET/313.22MPH Funny Car Top 10: 1.John Force (Mustang) 2. Bruce Sarver (Pontiac Firebird) 3. Del Worsham (Pontiac Firebird) 4. Whit Bazemore (Pontiac Firebird) 5. Ron Capps (Chevy Camaro) 6. Gary Densham (Mustang) 7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Chevy Camaro) 8. Tony Pedregon (Mustang) 9. Chuck Etchells (Chevy Camaro) 10. Frank Pedregon (Pontiac Firebird)

Top Fuel Winner: Mike Dunn - 4.603ET/324.98MPH Top Fuel Runner-Up: Larry Dixon - 4.579ET/319.45MPH Top Fuel Top Qualifier: Mike Dunn (GMC/Yankee Dragster) - 4.534ET/331.61MPH Top Fuel Top 10: 1. Mike Dunn 2. Darrell Russell 3. Doug Kalitta 4. Larry Dixon 5. Gary Scelzi 6. Kenny Bernstein 7. Doug Herbert 8. Tony Schumacher 9. David Grubnic 10. Bobby Baldwin -GM Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Sarver , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Todd Patterson , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , Chuck Etchells , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Brian Self , Kevin Helms , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.