PRO STOCK TRUCK -- CHEVY S-10 LARRY KOPP HOLDS ON TO POINTS LEAD, BOB PANELLA JR., WINS HIS FIRST PRO STOCK TRUCK RACE. LARRY KOPP, ACCURATE BINDING/ARMA COATINGS/G-FORCE TRANSMISSIONS CHEVY S-10, went home holding on the to Pro Stock Truck ...
PRO STOCK TRUCK -- CHEVY S-10
LARRY KOPP HOLDS ON TO POINTS LEAD, BOB PANELLA JR., WINS HIS FIRST PRO STOCK TRUCK RACE.
LARRY KOPP, ACCURATE BINDING/ARMA COATINGS/G-FORCE TRANSMISSIONS CHEVY S-10, went home holding on the to Pro Stock Truck points lead, despite red-lighting in the first round of eliminations. Second place JOHN LINGENFELTER, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVY S-10, was defeated in the semifinals by Brad Jeter (7.656/175.16 for Jeter; 7.744/175.00 for Lingenfelter) and was unable to pass Kopp for the lead. Kopp holds a 10-point margin over Lingenfelter going into the final two races of the season in Dallas and Pomona.
In the final, it was Chevy S-10 vs. Chevy S-10, Brad Jeter vs. Bob Panella Jr. Panella had the slower reaction time, but had the power at the finish line to beat Jeter by three thousandths of a second (7.654/174.73 for Panella; 7.706/174.80 for Jeter), capturing his first Pro Stock Truck win this year, the inaugural season of the series.
PANELLA: ON WINNING HIS FIRST PRO STOCK TRUCK RACE: "It's pretty much indescribable. We had a good day, made real consistent runs, had some close races, which is the way it's supposed to be. Fortunately, we came out on top. We are happy for the whole crew. They (NHRA) pressed us for time, gave us an hour and maybe an hour and a half between rounds, but we got the job done. I can't say enough about everyone. It's a dream come true."
DID YOU THINK YOU COULD BEAT JETER? "I knew he was going to be as good as was possible. He's always been a great driver, luckily I got lane choice. I think that made the difference. I knew he would do the job at the starting line, whoever got lane choice would win the race. I was lucky to be there."
TELL US ABOUT THE RUN, WHEN DID YOU GET BY HIM?: "I wasn't looking (at him). All I know is that I saw a black fender in the corner of my eye all the way down the track. I went down to the corner (turnoff at the end of the track), saw (announcer) Alan Reinhardt and he wanted to talk to me, and he had the microphone in his hand. Then I knew I had won. It wasn't a perfect run. It felt like the 7.6 seconds took two hours."
HAD YOU HAD BETTER RUNS THIS YEAR? "We made a couple of really good runs in Indy and tried to repeat it, but it took until probably today to do it. Finally, we made the runs we should have been making. We probably couldn't have gone faster than we did today."
ON THE PROGRESS OF THIS CLASS: "This class is getting real close. A lot of people are making consistent runs, we just made the right ones at the right time."
DID YOU FEEL THAT BY THE END OF THE SEASON THINGS WOULD GET SO CLOSE? "We struggled, we had hood/air related problems. It was a learning curve for us. Personally, I never ran anything close to a Pro Stock Truck before; I've been running competition eliminator for five years. There are eight trucks that can win a race now, by the end of the year there will be more. This series has come a long way, I knew it would."
JETER: ON LOSING LANE CHOICE: "We knew all day that there was a difference between the lanes and that was just something we had to face. A race like this, with a three thousandths of a second margin of victory, that's a drag race, and I don't mind losing a good drag race like that."
HOW DID YOU COME UP TO SPEED SO QUICKLY ON YOUR NEW JENKINS ENGINE? "We have a very good clutch program and are really on top of the game. I knew if we had good horsepower we could make use of it. There's a mid 7.50 in that Chevy S-10 right now, it's just a matter of us getting it right.
YOU'VE HAD REALLY GOOD REACTION TIMES: "I bracket race every weekend and make 10 to 20 passes a night. That gave me four to five years of experience on a pro (Christmas) tree."