Topeka: Spitzer puts GMC Sonoma in first final round

TOPEKA, Kan. (October 1, 2000) - David Spitzer gave GMC Sonoma its first Pro Stock Truck final round today at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The 31-year-old Indianapolis native had the best day of...

TOPEKA, Kan. (October 1, 2000) - David Spitzer gave GMC Sonoma its first Pro Stock Truck final round today at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The 31-year-old Indianapolis native had the best day of his professional career advancing to the championship heat before losing to points leader Bob Panella. Spitzer came into today's race qualified in the No. 6 position after posting one of his best starts of the season. He took advantage of three rounds of lane choice to defeat Mark Whisnant, Brian Self and John Coughlin before meeting Panella in the finals. Spitzer's performance numbers were consistent throughout the day with a 7.635ET/175.32MPH in round one, 7.652ET/174.67MPH in round two and 7.668ET/174/57MPH in round three. In the finals against Panella, Spitzer's Sonoma marched to a 7.698 elapsed time at 174.37 mph but Panella's S-10 crossed the finish line first in 7.672 seconds at 175.16 mph. "What a day!" exclaimed Spitzer. "The Sunnen/Dynagear GMC Sonoma felt great all day and lane choice for us was crucial. The first couple rounds we had used that to our advantage and that proved to help us a lot. It feels really good to just go rounds, especially in this class. It's so tough and you never know what's going to happen. "Once we got to the finals we decided to just let whatever happen, happen, and give it our best shot. It was really fun. I looked over in high gear and we were right with Panella. It was just a good run for us. This was my first final and it was the first final for GMC. I am really happy to be the one to do it. I really would've loved to win it but maybe next time we can finish business. I'm glad we are finally getting consistent and making good runs." Spitzer was racing in his first career professional final round. In March of 1999, he debuted the GMC Sonoma in the Pro Stock Truck category at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Spitzer works full time as a cylinder-head porter out of Steve Schmidt's engine shop in Indianapolis. "I wasn't really thinking about the finals until after second round," Spitzer said. "You get that feeling that this could be your day, but we just took it one round at a time, and when we made it to the finals it was just amazing. I had a good feeling the whole day. I knew we had a pretty fast truck, and felt we could make it to the semis and sure enough we made it to the finals. I'm thankful that I was given this opportunity to race this GMC Sonoma." Summit Racing GMC Sonoma driver John Lingenfelter lost in round one on a holeshot to Todd Patterson. Lingenfelter ran an elapsed time of 7.608 seconds at 175.98 mph with a .492 reaction time. Patterson had a 7.633 elapsed time at 175.50 mph with a .450 reaction time. "That's what you call a heartbreaker," said Lingenfelter. "It's not that the Summit Racing GMC Sonoma isn't running good, because it is! We were third fastest in that round. That makes it even worse. I just didn't get a good light. I've lost more close races this year than I care to deal with. You have to have a .450 light and we had a .492. It's disappointing but we are still gaining and that's great. I just need to get a better light." After 11 Pro Stock Truck events, Bob Panella leads the standings in an S-10 with 1129 point points. Randy Daniels is in second place with 957 points, John Coughlin is third with 702, Greg Stanfield is fourth with 614 and Steve Johns is fifth with 572. Rick Jones is eighth in a Sonoma with 454 points and John Lingenfelter is ninth in a Sonoma with 444 points. The next stop on the Pro Stock Truck tour is the 13th annual AutoZone Nationals presented by Pennzoil on October 5 - 8 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn. NHRA Heat can be seen on ESPN2 on Thursday, October 5, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Television coverage of qualifying highlights can be seen on Speedvision on Saturday, October 7, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. Final eliminations can be seen on Sunday, October 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Todd Patterson , Randy Daniels , John Lingenfelter , Greg Stanfield , Steve Schmidt , Mark Whisnant , Brian Self , Steve J