STEVENS SQUEAKS INTO BRAINERD PRO STOCK FIELD AS NO. 16 QUALIFIER BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. squeaked his way into the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Pro Stock field today with a 6.785-second elapsed-time pass at 203.00 mph,...
STEVENS SQUEAKS INTO BRAINERD PRO STOCK FIELD AS NO. 16 QUALIFIER
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. squeaked his way into the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Pro Stock field today with a 6.785-second elapsed-time pass at 203.00 mph, just quick enough to get him into the No. 16 spot in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' most competitive class.
Temporarily bumped from the field prior to his best pass in today's third session, he was concerned that it might not hold up through the final qualifying round at Brainerd International Raceway. "I was a little worried about Mark Pawuk and Ron Krisher in that final session. Especially after (Dave) Connolly moved past us and put us on the bump," said the driver of the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing.
"Luckily they were not able to get in, and that saved us, especially with us aborting our run," said Stevens, of the mechanical problem he suffered in that final attempt.
On Friday, he set consistent laps of 6.792/202.97 and 6.792/202.88. In his final qualifying run, a part in the car's rear-end broke, resulting in a 14.560/56.74 pass.
"We broke a piece in the rear end on that last pass, and it's too bad because we wanted to move up some spots," he said. "But, if it was going to happen, I guess it is better that it happened today than during tomorrow's first round. David (Nickens, crew chief/engine builder) and the Mopar/Valspar guys will get it fixed and ready for tomorrow."
Stevens is looking at the bright side for Sunday's eliminations. "We are in the field, that's the good news," said the New Orleans native. "The bad news is we have the best Pro Stock driver in the world (reigning three-time Pro Stock champion and No. 1 qualifier here), Greg Anderson, in the first round.
"We haven't really made a good run all weekend, so we're still waiting to make that run. Hopefully we'll do it in the morning when we need it the most, and get past Greg. It would be an upset, but there have been a few of those this year. We'll see what we can do.
"We've got a shot at it, I'll just go up there and do my thing."