Joliet: Team Panella Friday qualifying

Joliet, Ill. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., used the two Friday sessions of qualifying for the Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway to prepare their trucks for tomorrow's Holley Dominator...

Joliet, Ill. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., used the two Friday sessions of qualifying for the Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway to prepare their trucks for tomorrow's Holley Dominator Duel, a special race-within-a-race.

In the first session, Panella's Chevy S-10 moved toward the wall on the launch. Panella gathered the truck under control and steered back into the groove and ran a respectable pass of 7.489 seconds at 180.77 mph. Improving in session number two, the two-time and reigning NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck champion clicked off numbers of 7.459 seconds at 180.55 mph, good for third spot.

"I was surprised that it ran that good after the start I had in the first session," said Panella. "It was probably pretty stupid to go all the way to the end, but we didn't know what was going to happen with the weather. I had to make sure that we had my Chevy S-10 qualified and in the field. It also gave us a little data for the night run.

"We did better the second time around. Not number one, but pretty damn good for the session. All in all, I'm happy. We learned a lot and are set up for the Holley Dominator Duel tomorrow. We'll look at the computer and see what adjustments we can make for tomorrow."

Mechanical problems prevented teammate Gracia from receiving a time in the opening session but he rebounded and notched the 11th position with a qualifying pass of 7.517 seconds at 179.90 mph.

"On that first pass, when I staged it, I went to go wide open throttle. For what ever reason, the clutch rod broke and allowed my GMC Sonoma to roll through the starting lights. There was no clutch, I had nothing. I made the run anyway, so that we'd get some kind of graph (computer data) so that we could tune for the second pass," reflected Gracia on that first pass.

"On the second pass, we just tried to be sure that we had a baseline for tomorrow's Duel and the other two qualifying passes. It (the truck) made a decent run. It wasn't great considering I was the first pair out, running directly behind the fuelers and all their clutch dust at the top end of the track. We did get a good baseline for tomorrow though."

-Tem Panella

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Jeff Gracia