Kannapolis, NC (Wednesday July 25) - On Tuesday July 24 the National Hot Rod Association announced their 2002 schedule, at the same time it was announced that the Pro Stock Truck Class would not be included in the 2002 Professional race schedule...
Kannapolis, NC (Wednesday July 25) - On Tuesday July 24 the National Hot Rod Association announced their 2002 schedule, at the same time it was announced that the Pro Stock Truck Class would not be included in the 2002 Professional race schedule and the Pro Stock Trucks would be relegated back to a competition eliminator class for the 2002 season. This came as an enormous shock to the members of the Pro Stock Truck Association.
"I can't believe it, " Greg Stanfield, driver of the DBP Enterprises Chevrolet S-10. " This comes as a complete shock to me, my team owner, and the rest of my crew. There has been a lot of speculation in the last couple months whether the truck class would be around next season, but to cancel the class with only five races left in the season is like a kick in the groin. What are we supposed to do now?"
'What are we supposed to do now?' is the sentiments of the majority of the racers in the class.
"I have hundreds of thousands of dollars, no millions of dollars, tied up in our Pro Stock Truck racing program," said Bart Price, owner and driver of the DBP Enterprises Chevrolet S-10. "In effect NHRA has ruined us.
"This season to race competitively in the Pro Stock Truck class, a truck team has to spend the same amount of money as a Pro Stock team. The underlying problem is that we are spending money on small block R&D. Instead of research and development on big block stuff: we have concentrated in 350 cubic inch motors, when it seems that we should have worried about 500 inch stuff all along. NHRA has some notion that we can just stiff gears and race Pro Stock without any problems. NHRA is kidding themselves. Even if we quit racing Pro Stock Truck right now, and concentrated on Pro Stock for the next six months; there is no way we could start next season and be even be half way competitive. Not to mention the fact that we could not get ten cents on the dollar for the equipment we have now.
"Mr. Compton and his advisor have not thought this through. I am not the only owner that stands to lose a lot of money. There are others out there, the Panella's, the Pattern's, the Coughlin's: we have all invested large amounts of money into our racing programs on promises from the NHRA. The way that NHRA has chosen to eliminate the class leaves us with no alternative but to seek retribution else where."
"NHRA has put us in a tough situation," said Mark Whisnant, driver of the PiranaZ Chevrolet S-10. "We have to choose. Do we want to race Pro Stock? Or be content going back to Comp Eliminator? For me I have no choice. I have a sponsor to think about and my career to think about. Right now, I have to cut my losses in Pro Stock Truck and focus on my future. My future is not going backward to comp; it is going forward into Pro Stock. We stand to lose a lot of money, but there are people out there like Grumpy Jenkins that has been virtually put out of business by this decision. We will cut our loses and hopefully it will not take us two years to be able to race with the rest to the Pro Stock guys."
Bob Unkerfer, President of the Pro Stock Truck Association had the following to say about the elimination of the class:
"It makes me sick. The fact that the class was desoved without any input from the drivers and owners within the class is inexcusable. I believe that NHRA should have given us another year or two to prove ourselves, or at the very least recoup our losses. The class has been steadily developing a fan base, which NHRA has chosen to ignore. If it is a prize money problem: we have the manufacture backing to solve that. I guess the real problem lies in that NHRA cooperate executes refuse to give the Pro Stock Truck racers an iron clad reason for the dissolution of the class. If it is not money? Or fan support? Then what is it? A question which NHRA has yet to answer."
All things considered, the 2001 season is not over yet. Every indication is that the Pro Stock Truck Association, which is 43 members strong 'will not go softly into that good night'. From now until the season's finale on November 11, do not expect the Pro Stock Truck guys to bow out gracefully. On the contrary, expect many loud and raucous statements coming from the Pro Stock Truck drivers and the owners. So hang on to your hats folks, because they are going to 'rage..rage against that good night.'