Topeka: Team Panella preview

Bob Panella Motorsports Panella Trucking Pro Stock Truck NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Driver: Bob Panella, Jr.-Chevy S-10 Driver: Jeff Gracia-Gmc Sonoma 13th Annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals May 24-27, 2001 Heartland Park Topeka - -...

Bob Panella Motorsports
Panella Trucking Pro Stock Truck
NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series

Driver: Bob Panella, Jr.-Chevy S-10
Driver: Jeff Gracia-Gmc Sonoma

13th Annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals
May 24-27, 2001
Heartland Park Topeka - - Topeka, Kansas

SATELLITE:
Feeds include action with natural sound of all five pro classes plus interviews with the qualifying leaders on Saturday and the winners on Sunday.

Friday, May 25 - - 8:30-9 p.m. (ET), SBS 6, Transponder 5
Saturday, May 26 - - 10-10:30 p.m. (ET), SBS 6, Transponder 3
Sunday, May 27 - - 8-8:30 p.m. (ET), SBS 6, Transponder 2

Panella second in points, Gracia fourth

Topeka, Kan. - - Fresh from one-two qualifying positions and an all Team Panella final at the NHRA Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta, both Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., are looking forward to hitting the quarter-mile track at Heartland Park Topeka for the Advance Auto Parts Nationals, Topeka, Kan., version.

Panella, who has had two wins and one semi-final finish at Heartland Park Topeka, had the following thoughts about this weekend's event, "It looks like we are going to have pretty decent weather this weekend, so that will be nice. I can't say what the track is going to be like because the track has been totally resurfaced. It was good before, except when the rains came. I've always been real successful there. Two years in a row I've run real fast there and both times have put my Chevy S-10 in the winner's circle. Partially that was because of the weather - - it was real cold. I like a two lane race track and both lanes at Topeka have always been pretty decent and fairly consistent. I'm looking forward to testing the new surface, " said Panella, the reigning and two-time Winston Pro Stock Truck champion.

Currently second in points, just 14 points behind the leader Greg Stanfield, Panella reflected on the NHRA Winston point standings as the truck schedule approached the halfway point. "I'm happy with my season thus far. Considering the competition level that's out there and the dedication there is with other teams, I happy to be where I'm at. I'm happy to just be in contention for another championship and whether it happens or not, that remains to be seen. Hopefully, we can have this Chevy S-10 in contention all the way until November and win another championship."

I said the following at Atlanta and that statement still stands, "Both my teammate Jeff Gracia and I have a chance at the title, but it's no secret that both Greg Stanfield and Randy Daniels are running well and, unless something changes, should give Jeff and I a run all the way to the final event. There are also a number of other teams - - Don Smith, Taylor Lastor, and Todd Patterson - - to name a few, that are running well and have the potential to make a run at it. All they have to do is have some luck, then get hot and one of them could be knocking on the door. This Pro Stock Truck racing is so close that you never know what's going to happen from race to race."

Gracia, who holds down the fourth spot in the Winston point battle with two races left before the midpoint in the truck schedule, is looking for a good outing from his GMC Sonoma. "I think the next four races will go a long way in determining this year's champion and who finishes at the top of the points. I would like to see both Bobby and me do well during that span. After getting to my first final at Atlanta, I know I would like to be in more of them. Atlanta was exciting! Panella Motorsports has the potential as Bobby has shown for the past several years. All our engines and equipment are fresh and ready for the next four races," he said.

Gracia and Panella begin their run for the Advance Auto Parts Nationals title on Friday with two qualifying sessions. Qualifying concludes on Saturday with two additional sessions. Then the quickest 16 pair off for final eliminations beginning on Sunday at 11 a.m. (ET) with the winner advancing and the loser going home.

-BPM-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Todd Patterson , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Greg Stanfield