Panella beats Daniels in Showdown at Bristol

BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, who did not compete in last year's Winston Showdown, defeated defending Pro Stock Truck event titlist RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, in another playing of the Bob and Randy Show. If...

BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, who did not compete in last year's Winston Showdown, defeated defending Pro Stock Truck event titlist RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, in another playing of the Bob and Randy Show. If you're counting the entire NHRA season, this was the sixth final-round pairing for this duo in 10 events, and the boys are even: three wins each. In total title victories, Daniels has five, Panella four. The only event this season not won by one of these two was the Sears Craftsman Nationals last week in St. Louis, won by JOHN COUGHLIN, in the JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10.

Panella was awarded $2,000 for low qualifier and $15,000 for the title win. Daniels received $5,000.

Panella demonstrated a marked improvement in his reaction times, posting a .492 (his worst) against a red-lighting Larry Kopp (Speedco Chevy S-10) in the first round, a .426 against Mike Coughlin's (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10) .438 in the second, winning on a holeshot advantage, and a .438 to Daniels' .456 in the final round. It was an eight-truck field for this weekend's special event.

Daniels defeated Steven Farr (Jerry Haas Race Cars Chevy S-10) and John Coughlin to reach the final.

The Stockton, Calif.-based Panella didn't rely entirely on his "new and improved" reaction time against Daniels. His 7.695-second elapsed time at 175.21 mph was enough to beat Randy's 7.709/175.96.

PANELLA: "It's a good feeling to win going into a little bit of a summer break that we have (the next Pro Stock Truck race is the U.S. Nationals in September). I tried not to think about the rivalry too much. I have lost a few races on reaction times. Unfortunately, when you are the fastest truck there's only one way to lose. I have done that a few times. There's definitely a bull's-eye on my back. I have to get on top of it. This is a confidence booster for me. We came here and drove well all day. It's a great boost for the rest of the year going into a break. I just tried not to make a mistake. fortunately, I have a hell of a crew. They did a great job. They kept that S-10 flying. If I do my job we will be all right." ON THE HOLESHOT WIN IN THE SEMIS. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WON ON A HOLESHOT? "I don't know when the last time was. I have no idea. It's been awhile. It's not my style to be late like that. I got a little lax; I needed to break myself of that, and I'm glad we did it this weekend." HOW DID YOU IMPROVE? "Mentally. I fought myself thinking maybe it's the truck, maybe it's the clutch. It's none of that, it's never been any of that. I had this problem in the past. It's strictly mental. I'm glad that maybe I got it out of my system, and maybe I will have a good finish at the end of the year."

DANIELS: "He drove pretty good this weekend. I drove mediocre. I had pretty much the same light all day long. That's all I could do. Overall we were tickled. We were able to participate in this race, we had a spot, but we hoped to run better than we did. We never seemed to catch it this weekend." WHAT DID YOU NEED TO WIN? "I felt like I needed to have a killer light, but I just didn't come up with it. I had been making pretty good runs with the S-10 all day long, but they weren't quite the runs we needed to be making." NO BIRTHDAY PRESENT THIS TIME? "I didn't double-up two years in a row, but getting into the final round is a whole lot better than we had been doing in the past (in '98, Randy's first season). At least we are back to the finals. That's a step in the right direction, especially after our early exit in the last race (Randy lost in the second round in St. Louis)."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Kopp , Mike Coughlin , Jerry Haas