BOB PANELLA: Qualifying Position: ...
BOB PANELLA: Qualifying Position: #3 (7.485 seconds at 181.42* mph) * Track Record
Pomona, Calif. - - Bob Panella, Jr., from Stockton, Calif., reigning Winston Pro Stock Truck champion, began the 2001 season in record setting fashion today when he established a Pomona Dragway track speed record at 181.42 mph driving a Chevy S-10 truck. Unless someone runs faster, the speed will become a NHRA national speed record provided Panella backs up the run within one percent as required by NHRA rules. The current record is 180.69 mph set by Greg Stanfield, from Bossier City, La., at Memphis Motorsports Park in October of last year.
"Power in the last half of the track was an area that we worked on over the winter," said Panella. I felt the speed was there, but sometime with a new motor you never know. It could look awesome on the dyno, but then not perform when you take it to the track. Now we'll come back and try to make the truck perform better through the front half of the track. The track is awesome and most of the setups were conservative today. I think you see lower elapsed times and faster speeds as we progress with the final three sessions of qualifying."
JEFF GRACIA: Qualifying Position: #4 (7.504 seconds at 179.14 mph)
Pomona, Calif. - - Everyone looks for a good run to begin a new season and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., got just what he wanted when he ran an elapsed time of 7.504 seconds at 179.14 mph in a new GMC Sonoma truck.
During testing you see everybody running big numbers and you just hope that you can perform when the time for actual competition arrives. We are extremely satisfied to run this well out of the box (trailer). Now we have established a baseline for both trucks for the remainder of the weekend. It makes our overall job easier and we can sleep better at night," said Gracia.
"Tomorrow we must start to improve of numbers. If the weather stays the same, I think you will see everyone go quicker and maybe even faster. Hopefully we can pick up two to three hundredths and stay right there with them."
Second round of qualifying for the AutoZone Winternationals is scheduled for Friday at 2:00 p.m. (PST).