Topeka Pro Stock Trucks Preview

PRO STOCK TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE ROLLS INTO HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, Kan. - While the NHRA Winston Top Fuel championship chase is coming down to the wire with every driver in the top 10 eyeing the prize, a similar battle exists in the ...

PRO STOCK TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE ROLLS INTO HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, Kan. - While the NHRA Winston Top Fuel championship chase is coming down to the wire with every driver in the top 10 eyeing the prize, a similar battle exists in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock Truck category. In only its second full season, the truck category is starting to mirror the cutthroat Pro Stock class, which features precision tuning and a lot of side-by-side racing. At the recent U.S. Nationals, there were over 40 entries for 16 starting spots in Pro Stock Truck. And the brand versus brand warfare provides even more drama, as Chevrolet S-10s, Dodge Dakotas, GMC Sonomas and Ford Rangers take to the track each weekend with manufacturers' pride leading the way. As many as five drivers still have a chance at the NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck championship, claimed in the inaugural season by Baltimore's Larry Kopp. The candidates this season include former Pro Stock racer Mark Osborne, from Abingdon, Va.; a couple of former NHRA sportsman aces -- Bob Panella, Jr., from Stockton, Calif., and Mike Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio; and two proud Southern boys -- Brad Jeter, from Greenville, S.C., and Randy Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C. Osborne, driver of the RCL Components S-10, leads the field into competition atop the point standings at the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at Heartland Park Topeka. Fellow S-10 driver Panella trails Osborne by 20 points entering the $1.6 million race, the 11th of 14 events for Pro Stock Trucks in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "Winning the championship is very important to me," said Osborne, a two-time winner this season who finished fifth in the NHRA Pro Stock point standings last year. "It's going to be a tight battle, that's for sure. There's a lot of good trucks out there battling for it. Panella is right there with us and I'm not counting out Jeter. In this deal, anything can happen. We just need to be consistent and make sure we get to race every Sunday from here on out." Jeter has earned one win in three finals in his Karl's Chevrolet Racing S-10, and says with good focus and consistency during the last four races, he has the potential to make a move. "It's not too large of a lead that we can't overcome it," said Jeter, a former IHRA Pro Modified competitor. "Osborne and Panella have had luck on their side so far this year. I've had very little. It's time for them to stumble and luck to switch to our side. There's still plenty of time left with four races. If I didn't think we could win the championship, I wouldn't be out there racing." A darkhorse candidate made a major move with a recent victory at Indianapolis Raceway Park, pulling into contention for the points championship after getting a late start to the season. "Winning the U.S. Nationals helped out tremendously as far as the points chase goes," said Coughlin, driver of the Jeg's Mail Order S-10. "I don't guess the championship is too far out of reach. We'll keep working at it and see where we end up."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Brad Jeter , Larry Kopp , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin