RICHIE STEVENS RED-LIGHTS IN FIRST ROUND IN HOUSTON BAYTOWN, Texas (April 10, 2005) - Qualifying 16th in a 16-car field automatically pits you against the No. 1 qualifier in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competition, and that's where Richie...
RICHIE STEVENS RED-LIGHTS IN FIRST ROUND IN HOUSTON
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 10, 2005) - Qualifying 16th in a 16-car field automatically pits you against the No. 1 qualifier in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competition, and that's where Richie Stevens Jr. found himself today in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway.
After struggling during qualifying to finally end up in the field at all was one accomplishment. The next came when Stevens faced Warren Johnson in the first round in a car that was ready for the challenge, thanks to the hard work of crew chief Bob Glidden and the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus crew, who found and fixed the gremlins that haunted the team during qualifying.
Stevens has the reputation of being a "good leaver." Translation: he cuts excellent reaction times at the starting light. He knew he had to pull out a good one to beat WJ. Unfortunately, it was too good and Stevens red-lighted with a minus-.024 light (.000 is perfect) to Johnson's less-than-stellar .085. WJ was there for the taking, but won with a 6.706/205.16. Although he was disqualified, Stevens posted a 6.753/204.35.
"I didn't even think I 'red-lit.' I didn't know I red-lit until they told me on the radio," said the New Orleans native. "Until I went through to the finish line and didn't see the win light come on, I thought I had been either near perfect or really good at the light.
"I didn't see him (next to me), I didn't see him, and I thought we were going to the next round, but I beat myself.
"I had to go for a light. He went a 6.69 (ET) yesterday and we hadn't made a decent run all weekend. I didn't think I pushed it that hard, but I guess I did. That's the way it goes.
"The Team Mopar Dodge ran good. The best pass it made all weekend was that one. It went straight, there was no electrical miss in it.
"WJ was still beatable. If I had cut a .037 light or better I still could have beat him."
Stevens now stands 12th in Pro Stock points, with 172. His teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr., in the Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge Stratus, is eighth after advancing to the second round today.