Indianapolis Pro Stock Truck Preview

PANELLA HOPES TO FIND ADVANTAGE IN TIGHT PRO STOCK TRUCK BATTLE CLERMONT, Ind. - The month-long intermission for the 14-event Pro Stock Truck season couldn't have come at a worse time for Bob Panella Jr. The Stockton, Calif. driver had...

PANELLA HOPES TO FIND ADVANTAGE IN TIGHT PRO STOCK TRUCK BATTLE CLERMONT, Ind. - The month-long intermission for the 14-event Pro Stock Truck season couldn't have come at a worse time for Bob Panella Jr. The Stockton, Calif. driver had just put together two victories and moved very close to Mark Osborne's Winston points lead. With all the momentum in the world going for him, the truck season hit a break following the event in Madison, Ill. When the truck schedule resumes at the 45th annual U.S. Nationals, Sept. 1-6 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Panella hopes to continue his hot streak. He was last year's runner-up at the $2.6 million race, the 10th of 14 events for Pro Stock Trucks in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "I hated to see the break come when it did," Panella said. "We were on a roll and running good. Hopefully we can pick up at Indy where we left off at St. Louis." Panella drove his Chevrolet S-10 to victories at Chicago and St. Louis, and posted back-to-back runner-up efforts at Houston and Richmond, Va. During the first nine events, his lone miscue was a first round loss at Atlanta, where he was the event's No. 2 qualifier. He says the champion will be the guy who races mistake-free during the last five events. "It's so close that luck might just decide the champion," said Panella, who trails Osborne by 19 points in the standings. "It's that close. There's no question that every team involved in the championship battle is going to work hard. That's a given. The champion is going to be the guy who can capitalize on the others' mistakes." One advantage Panella has going for him entering the final stretch is a good record during those races last season. After posting a runner-up at Indy in '98, he went on to record three semi-final appearances and a win at Memphis. "I really hope that means something," Panella said. "That was definitely our strong part of the year in 1998. I've been thinking about those races quite a bit lately. If we can run as well as we did at the end of last year, I think we'll be OK. "Our focus is to remain competitive and consistent. We're working to find more horsepower and make the truck go faster. The big thing is try to keep the mistakes to a minimum."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella