GREG STANFIELD, BDP ENTERPRISES CHEVY S-10, collected his first Pro Stock Truck title of his career today and topped off a perfect record for the Chevy S-10 Pickup for the year after defeating MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, in the...
GREG STANFIELD, BDP ENTERPRISES CHEVY S-10, collected his first Pro Stock Truck title of his career today and topped off a perfect record for the Chevy S-10 Pickup for the year after defeating MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, in the final round with a 7.520-second pass at 179.95 mph to Coughlin's 7.569/179.18. Coughlin had a near-perfect reaction time with a .404 to Stanfield's .430, but the run for the title came down to lane choice, which Stanfield earned when he defeated Winston Champion BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, in the semifinal.
Stanfield earned three final-round appearances, one pole position and eight top-fives in qualifying this season. He was definitely a contender, as he ended up fifth in Winston Championship points.
Chevy S-10s dominated the class for the second straight season by winning each of the 14 events. In point standings, Chevy S-10 drivers captured the top eight positions.
STANFIELD: WHICH WAS TOUGHER, THE SEMIFINAL ROUND OR THE FINAL? "I would say the toughest was probably the final because I didn't have a line lock (which locks the front brakes only in order to accomplish a burn-out with the rears) when I went into the water. To pull that off definitely means the Man Upstairs was on my side."
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU? "This is special. I started driving in 1980. To get to this level in 20 years is definitely special."
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THIS DAY FOR A WHILE? "For a long time. I probably have since I started driving. I wanted to run Pro Stock, I never thought I would be in an S-10 truck. It's definitely been fun."
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU SAW THE WIN LIGHT? "Finally. There's a lot of hard work that goes into being out here. It takes a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears. Bart and Debbie Price backed me in this deal. Without them I wouldn't be here. My guys have worked so hard to get here, so it's definitely gratifying to pull off a win here."
DID YOU THINK YESTERDAY THAT YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN? "After the second qualifying session I felt we had the performance to do it. It was a matter of getting the right combination to get down the track. It's come together for us. I have kind of been struggling in the last few races on my driving. I was low on confidence. Luckily I have a great crew who kept me upbeat, and it paid off."
BOB PANELLA, PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, owner also of JEFF GRACIA'S PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, saw both teams lose in the semifinals, matching the results in Memphis two races ago. Panella advanced to the semifinal round after defeating STEVEN FARR, JERRY HAAS CARS CHEVY S-10, and his year-long nemesis RANDY DANIELS, in the quarterfinal. In the semis he faced Stanfield, losing to his former business partner with a 7.522/178.45 pass to Stanfield's 7.514/180.09.
PANELLA: "We had a good day. Jeff's S-10 made three good runs today or would have if he had gotten it into high gear. We struggled to make his truck be consistent, he did well. Larry Joe (Seay) was running real good with our engines. It makes me feel good. I'm happy, and I get to leave my windows the way they are (with the #1 decal), and that's a bigger plus."
ON THE RUN AGAINST STANFIELD: "Greg and I always have great races and I tried to do my best job on the starting line. We left equal to him (.429 R/T for Stanfield, .434 for Panella), but it got loose in fourth gear and that was all she wrote."
JEFF GRACIA was defeated in the semis by Mike Coughlin, 7.548/179.11/.418 R/T for Coughlin; 8.141/131.06/.467 for Gracia. Gracia moved into seventh in points. He eliminated David Spitzer and SCOTT PERIN en route to the final.
GRACIA: "We got dropped like a rock. I was happy, though. I think I moved up a little in points. That was good, to finish in the top 10. I'm pretty happy about that. In the first two rounds I didn't drive really well, but I drove good enough to win. Fortunately, I won both rounds. The last round the sun was really hanging across the tree. I wasn't sure where I was staging; I think I went too deep. It didn't mean anything because the transmission broke; it wouldn't go into high gear. I probably wouldn't have beat him any way because he had a five hundredths reaction time advantage. In this class you can't give up any hundredths."
RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, who has already clinched second place in the Winston Championship behind Panella, was eliminated in the second round by Panella (7.478/178.90/.429 R/T to 8.950/109.83, .490 R/T). Daniels disposed of Rick Jones in the first round and just barely lost lane choice by virtue of a 7.511-second pass compared to Panella's 7.509.
DANIELS: "I didn't have enough clutch in the S-10 in the first round. We came up a little short on lane choice. I don't think the right lane is all that bad. We got crossed up on the starting line (in the second round). I was staged crooked, and the truck went where it was aimed." ON THE SEASON: "It has been a real special season. I have won more races in this one season (5) than I have in my whole career before. I had a lot of final round appearances (eight), won a lot of rounds too (35)."
WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU? "That we're growing, we're getting stronger and stronger. You've just got to learn by doing."
WHAT NOW? "We'll go home, regroup, try and get all our engines patched up so we can go out and do it again next year."
WHEN YOU DIDN'T QUALIFY IN THE FIRST RACE THIS YEAR, WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR? "It must have really gotten our attention. We might not have had the type of season we had if we had qualified in that race. It was a real eye-opener. It sure got me thinking why in the world I didn't qualify and what in the world I had to do to try not to make that mistake again. And we had to deal with it every weekend as we saw the field getting tighter and tighter."
No. 1 qualifier STEVE JOHNS, CASTROL SUPER CLEAN CHEVY S-10, reached the second round after ousting MARK WHISNANT, but lost to Mike Coughlin on a holeshot: 7.505/177.91/.462 for Johns; 7.529/179.21/.431 for Coughlin. Johns will accept third-place honors at the Awards Ceremony tomorrow night.
JOHNS: "All I could do was a .460 light. That's what I had the last four runs, so it wasn't a shock to see it happen this time. Something else is wrong here from the start of the day. We're down about one and a half mph. We made some changes in the first round. It ran slow in the back of the track, so we changed it back and still went slow. So we're kind of puzzled. It's a bad way to put it back in the box for the year knowing it didn't run right. We have a long off-season to fix it. It wasn't a bad weekend, we ended up third in points."
<pre> FINAL POINT STANDINGS: 1. Bob Panella Jr., Chevy S-10 (5) 1372 2. Randy Daniels, Chevy S-10 (5) 1145 3. Steve Johns, Chevy S-10 (1) 835 4. John Coughlin, Chevy S-10 (1) 826 5. Greg Stanfield, Chevy S-10 (1) 823