Chevy S-10s Top Pro Stock Truck Field in Atlanta; Kopp Defeats Lingenfelter in Final
20 April 1998Commerce, Ga.; -- Larry Kopp made up for red-lighting in the first event in Houston by defeating John Lingenfelter in the all-Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck final at the Fram Nationals at Atlanta Dragway today, the second of 12 Pro Stock Truck events sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and part of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
No. 1 qualifier for the second straight race, Kopp, of Baltimore, Md., set a national and track speed record of 174.99 mph, and a track record elapsed time of 7.680 seconds in the first round of eliminations, beating Sondra Sikes' Ford with his G-Force Transmissions-sponsored S-10. He then eliminated the Chevy S-10s of Scott Tidwell and Randy Daniels to advance to the final round.
On the other side of the ladder, Summit Racing Equipment Chevy S-10 driver John Lingenfelter reached the final after defeating Roy Hill (Ford), Brad Jeter (Chevy) and No. 3 qualifier Jerry Haas (Chevy).
Kopp, with power from a Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins-built 358 cu. in. Chevy V8 engine in his S-10, ran consistent laps of 7.680, 7.690 and 7.708 before meeting Lingenfelter in the final round. Lingenfelter's elapsed times of 7.705, 7.747 and 7.754 were no match for Kopp's dominance.
As the green light flashed, both trucks launched at nearly identical reaction times, .451 for Kopp, .457 for Lingenfelter. Kopp, who sent a clear message in Houston that his was the pickup truck to beat, put an exclamation mark on that point as he crossed the finish line 11 feet (.045 of a second) ahead of Lingenfelter, with en e.t. of 7.712 and a top speed of 174.79 mph to Lingenfelter's 7.751/173.37.
"It's just awesome," said Kopp after winning his first Pro NHRA event of his career. "It's unbelievable how we put this together and came out and dominated the first two races. We're out here to win races. Our plan is to win everything available in Pro Stock Truck this year, driver's championship, mechanic of the year. Now we'll take the motor out, freshen it up. We're replacing anything that looks even slightly worn. We're not taking any chances."
Lingenfelter, who was consistently quickest and fastest in his Chevy S-10 in the exhibition runs last year, settled for the runner-up spot. "When you make the last gear change (down the quarter-mile track) and he's ahead of you," said the engine builder from Decatur, Ind., "you know you're in a world of hurt. It was a good race. Kopp's team did a better job than we did. He had a good light, the engine ran good, and he got there before I did. We'll just have to try harder."
Kopp jumps into the championship points lead, with 216. He's followed by S-10 driver Randy Daniels, 169, and Dodge driver David Nickens in third, 152. Lingenfelter is in fourth, with 130 points.
The next Pro Stock Truck event is May 14-16 in Englishtown, N.J.