St. Louis: Hopes and struggles

W.J.'S STRUGGLES: Five-time Winston Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson hopes to put an end to a season of frustration with a victory at Gateway International Raceway, a track he dominated in 1997. Johnson has posted four uncharacteristic first ...

W.J.'S STRUGGLES: Five-time Winston Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson hopes to put an end to a season of frustration with a victory at Gateway International Raceway, a track he dominated in 1997. Johnson has posted four uncharacteristic first round losses this season.

"I'm hoping for warm weather because we can do well when it's hot," said Johnson, who trails points leader Jeg Coughlin by 266 and is being chased for the second spot by Troy Coughlin, who is currently 47 points back. "If it's 50 degrees when we race in St. Louis, then I'll know something is definitely wrong. We're all dealing with the same conditions, and it appears that our competitors have a combination that's better for a cool track than ours. We'll just keep working to improve our performance."

PANELLA TRUCKIN: Bob Panella Jr. hopes his victory in Chicago ended Randy Daniels hot streak in Pro Stock Truck. The two Chevy S-10 drivers have been engaged in a tight battle for the Winston championship this season. Daniels has scored five wins, while defending series champ Panella has earned three.

"I hope that blue and white monkey is off my back," said Panella, who holds a slim 14 point margin over his rival, who drives a blue and white S-10. "There's no doubt that Randy is going to be a factor all season. Last year when (Brad) Jeter, Mark (Osborne) and I had our battle we all had good spells and bad spells. None of our good spells were quite as long as Randy's has been this year. It finally broke in Chicago and maybe we can put together a good points lead between now and the summer break."

BROWN IS BACK: In Pro Stock Motorcycle, championship fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. Almost as quickly as Antron brown covered the quarter-mile distance in defeating Craig Treble for the win at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

Weeks earlier Brown, who had been infected with the second round blues, was already talking about developing a plan for the 2001 season. With his win over Treble, Brown's confidence is soaring. He's ready to conquer the category and pocket his first Winston championship.

"It feels good to be back in the winner's circle," said Brown, the 1999 AAA Road to the Future award winner. "We have had some problems early in the season but we overcame them together and finally got our first win of the year. We're closer to the points lead now than we were when we got our first win last year, so I'm ready to go after the championship. Team 23 is a force to be reckoned with."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Warren Johnson , Randy Daniels , Craig Treble