Indianapolis Larry Kopp Preview

KOPP HOPES TO REGAIN EARLY SEASON WINNING FORM AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. -- Four races into the inaugural NHRA Pro Stock Truck season Larry Kopp looked like he'd been winning races in the category for decades. With an opening race...

KOPP HOPES TO REGAIN EARLY SEASON WINNING FORM AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. -- Four races into the inaugural NHRA Pro Stock Truck season Larry Kopp looked like he'd been winning races in the category for decades. With an opening race semi-final effort and three straight victories, the Baltimore driver, aided by engine tuning wizardry from legendary Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins, seemed to be on a confident ride to the Winston championship in the new eliminator. Three races later, and Kopp is approaching the 44th U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, searching for that early season confidence. The $2.4 million race is the eighth of 12 events for Pro Stock Truck in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Kopp couldn't find the magic during races at Madison, Ill., Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle. Instead of visiting the winner's circle, Kopp suffered a series of different losses. At the Sears Craftsman Nationals, the Chevrolet S-10 driver had a shortage of power against eventual race winner Tim Freeman in the second round. At Sears Point's Autolite Nationals, Kopp got beat on a holeshot by eventual race runner-up Todd Patterson in the semi-finals. At Seattle Kopp left the starting line too early against Ford Ranger driver Roy Hill in the first round. As he heads to IRP, Kopp's once big point lead is now a mere 87 markers in front of hard- charging John Lingenfelter, winner of the Autolite Nationals. "Things have really got a lot tighter, that's for sure," said Kopp. "The competition is simply incredible right now. It's beginning to resemble Pro Stock in a lot of ways. Just about anyone in the field is capable of winning." Kopp says two of his recent misfires -- on the western swing -- shouldn't have happened. "We qualified well at Seattle, but I had a red-light start against Roy Hill in the first round," Kopp said. "As much as you hate it, those things are going to happen. I felt like I saw yellow when I left against Roy, but maybe I staged a little too deep. At Sonoma, I just didn't cut the kind of light I needed against Todd and we lost in the semis. I just didn't do my job in that round." He's going to need to be in top form if he's to earn the Pro Stock Truck win at the prestigious U.S. Nationals. "It's going to be real tough at Indy," Kopp said. "We're probably going to see the largest number of trucks we've had all year show up for the U.S. Nationals. Everybody wants to win that race really bad. Not only is it the first chance for most of us to earn a pro title at drag racing's biggest event, but whoever gets the trophy will always be recognized as Indy's first Pro Stock Truck winner." And his championship strategy for the remaining races is simple: be consistent. "We want to keep qualifying well, cut down on the mistakes and win some more races," Kopp said. "That's going to be the key to winning the Winston championship. John is really closing in and there's been several first time winners in the last few races. We just have to stay focused."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , John Lingenfelter , Tim Freeman