Topeka, Kan. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., are qualified in the top half of the field for the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Panella's elapsed time of 7.475 second in the ...
Topeka, Kan. - - Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., are qualified in the top half of the field for the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Panella's elapsed time of 7.475 second in the first session on Friday was good for the number one position. While Gracia held down the fifth spot by virtue of a pass of 7.495 seconds, also in Friday's opening session..
"We missed the set up in that final session on both trucks," said Gracia. "The track cooled down and we weren't ready for the change in temperature. We'll readjust and go after them tomorrow. We missed a good opportunity, but I think we have a little more left in both my GMC Sonoma and Bobby's Chevy S-10."
Panella added, "I second Jeff's comments on the set up. Being at the back of the session is usually a help. This time, because of some additional time to clean the track, the sun left the track and it cooled down considerably. But as with everything there is a positive. If we run into the same conditions later in the weekend we know what to do and how to set both trucks. We still managed to squeeze a 47 (7.47) out of the second run and I'm pleased with that.
"I like this track. My stats here over the pass three times we raced here at Topeka are good. I think that may have something to do with this track being at a little higher altitude. On a track that has some altitude you can use all your power. Both Jeff and my truck like that and thus perform better than most. We will work tomorrow on staying consistent and start gearing toward our race day set up," said Panella.
Gracia and Panella have two additional qualifying sessions on Saturday. Then the quickest 16 square off for final eliminations beginning on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (ET) with the winner advancing and the loser going home until only one is standing - - the champ of this year's Advance Auto Parts Nationals.