Joliet, Ill. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., is making his third appearance in the Holley Dominator Pro Stock Truck Duel. Teammate Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., has earned his way into his first. The Holley Pro Stock Truck Dominator...
Joliet, Ill. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., is making his third appearance in the Holley Dominator Pro Stock Truck Duel. Teammate Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., has earned his way into his first.
The Holley Pro Stock Truck Dominator Duel is a special event held in conjunction with the Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just outside Chicago. The Duel matches the eight drivers who have accumulated the most points during the Duel series - - from last year's Prestone Route 66 Nationals (Chicago) through the just completed Advance Auto Parts Nationals (Topeka, Kan.). The special race-within-a-race will take place Saturday, June 2.
After qualifying fourth in 1999, Panella won the first Pro Stock Truck Duel when he defeated Jerry Haas, from Fenton, Mo. He then went on and won the “double-up bonus” by winning the Fram Route 66 Nationals the same weekend. Last year the two-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock Champion qualified number one and finished runner up to Randy Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C.
When the field gathers for this year's Holley Duel, the eight trucks will be paced by Panella, who took the top spot at the final event on the Duel series. In the opening round Panella will face off with John Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, in his quest for his second Duel title and a $20,000 payday.
“It's great that Holley backs the Duel, not only for the trucks, but for the Pro Stock cars and motorcycles. It's a prestigious event. To me, personally, it's a great thing, especially to have qualified my Panella Trucking Chevy S-10 on top for the second year in a row and to have my teammate qualify his GMC Sonoma fourth. We worked real hard to get both trucks in the field. It feels real good. To have 20 percent of the field is something I'm proud of. Both Jeff (Gracia) and I are looking forward to mixing it up with the other six top drivers,” expounded Panella.
Gracia, who is in his second full year of driving for Team Panella, is looking forward to his first duel. He will go from the fourth qualifying position and square off against Mike Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, in the first round on Saturday.
“The Duel is a good program for the Pro Stock Trucks. To be part of it is special. It is something everybody in the truck class works for all year long. If you're going to be part of that special race, then you're part of the elite eight,” said Gracia. “It seems like my Panella Trucking GMC Sonoma is beginning to show potential and maybe we'll peak just in time for the Duel. Everybody in the show has a chance to win. They're all good drivers and just qualifying to get here shows they have the potential to go to the winners circle.”
The final qualifying positions for the Holley Dominator Duel are as follows: 1.) Bob Panella (2235 points); 2.) Randy Daniels (2210); 3.) Greg Stanfield (2005); 4.) Jeff Gracia (1740); 5.) Mike Coughlin (1580); 6.) (tie*) Todd Patterson (1425) and John Lingenfelter (1425); 8.) John Coughlin (1325).
* Todd Patterson earned the higher seed over John Lingenfelter by virtue of a tiebreaker using the average of the 10 best qualifying times for which points were awarded.