POINTS LEADER KOPP RED-LIGHTS, IS AT RISK OF LOSING LEAD LARRY KOPP, ACCURATE BINDING/ARMA COATINGS/G-FORCE TRANSMISSIONS CHEVY S-10, red-lighted in the first round of eliminations, losoing to John Lukovich's Chevy S-10: 7.707/174.26 for ...
POINTS LEADER KOPP RED-LIGHTS, IS AT RISK OF LOSING LEAD
LARRY KOPP, ACCURATE BINDING/ARMA COATINGS/G-FORCE TRANSMISSIONS CHEVY S-10, red-lighted in the first round of eliminations, losoing to John Lukovich's Chevy S-10: 7.707/174.26 for Lukovich; 7.617/175.59 for Kopp. Kopp's reactin tim was .383. With JOHN LINGENFELTER, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVY S-10, advancing to the semifinals, Kopp is at risk of losing the lead in the points battle.
KOPP: WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know. I can't answer why I did what I did. It thought I saw yellow, evidently I didn't see yellow and I left before I should have left. It's a very costly mistake. It just happened. I don't know why. I had no reason to do it, I had a faster truck, a better truck and quicker truck and I am a better driver than that. Somewhere along the line I have to turn this around so it's back in my favor again. I thought at Indy (U.S. Nationals, where he won), I had it turned around. I guess that's not the case."
DID YOU THINK AT THIS STAGE OF THE SEASON YOU'D BE WORRYING ABOUT YOUR POINTS LEAD? "No. I thought what we had to do was to maintain what we were doing and not make any mistakes and win some rounds. Since Indy I can't buy a round. We had that one DNQ (at Topeka), it's just devastating -- that's a good word for it. It's unbelievable. It hurts me so bad, because Chevrolet is behind me and everything else."
COMMENT ON THE OVERALL IMPROVEMENT OF THE TRUCKS AS THE SEASON ADVANCED: "They have improved. We had a head start on them, we found the right combination in the beginning and it worked for us for a bunch of races; it still works for us, we're extremely fast. They have done their homework. There are no magic parts or pieces. We just utilized ours well in the beginning and they're utilizing theirs better now."
HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT TO RED-LIGHT?: "Very. We were faster. We went a 7.61 (e.t.), that was the fastest up until the point Brad (Jeter) ran behind me. He went a .60. You always say you'd like to do it over again, but they (NHRA) won't let me do it again, so I won't get another chance until Dallas. Hopefully I can turn it around. I'm going to try to do anything I can to turn it around. It's not the mechanical part, it's me, I have a very fast truck."
JERRY HAAS, CHEVY TRUCKS CHEVY S-10, also red-lighted in first round, against Dale Eaton's Dodge. Eaton's e.t. was 7.706/173.54 to Haas' 7.673/175.68, .256 reaction time. Haas is out, but all four of the Chevy S-10s in the semifinals were built by his chassis building operation in Fenton, Mo., Jerry Haas Race Cars.
HAAS: "Last night when I staged I put the motor on the chip, and the ignition or something broke up and a ball of fire blew out. We changed motors. Today I put it on the chip, it popped again. Something activated my brain and I let the clutch pedal out. I don't know if the pop distracted me. I had a .460 light yesterday. I wasn't guessing the tree, I felt I could outrun Dale Eaton in the other lane. When I saw the red light come on I wasn't happy."
NATIONAL E.T. RECORD BROKEN THREE TIMES IN FIRST ROUND OF ELIMINATIONS -- FIRST TIME IN NHRA HISTORY. First it was Bob Panella, Jr., in his Chevy S-10, who demolished the 7.635-second national e.t. record set by Larry Kopp earlier this year, with a 7.620 pass in the first round of eliminations. Then it was Larry Kopp, while red-lighting, breaking that record with a 7.617-second pass. Not to be outdone, No. 1 qualifier Brad Jeter, in a Chevy S-10, then did one better with a 7.601-second pass. However, Jerry Haas' national speed record still holds at 176.70 mph. This was the first time in NHRA history that the national e.t. record was broken three times in one round in any pro category.
Note: It will be an all-Chevy S-10 semifinal round, with Brad Jeter vs. John Lingenfelter and Randy Daniels vs. Bob Panella Jr.