Bristol: Richie Stevens Jr preview

STEVENS JR. FOCUSED ON CONSISTENCY IN BRISTOL AMID CREW CHIEF CHANGE BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. knows consistency is the key to success in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class. He has qualified the...

STEVENS JR. FOCUSED ON CONSISTENCY IN BRISTOL AMID CREW CHIEF CHANGE

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. knows consistency is the key to success in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class.

He has qualified the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in the top half of the 16-car field in four of five races this season - not an easy task in this highly-competitive category - but has turned that record into only two round wins in final eliminations.

Stevens' focus remains on strong qualifying efforts and round wins, as he also works to build on team chemistry with his new crew chief, David Nickens, at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Bristol has been good to the New Orleans native. Stevens was runner-up last year at this event to Warren Johnson and notched his first career win here in 1996 (in IHRA at age 18). "We did real well here last year. Hopefully we can be even more successful this weekend," he says. "I remember winning here in '96, and it was really cool. It's a great track for us and I think for the fans."

He is optimistic about the teamwork in the Team Mopar/Valspar pits with the new personnel. "I think David and Mike (Sullivan, clutch specialist) will bring a lot of positive energy into our pits, and hopefully we can use that to our benefit and go some more rounds on Sunday and win some races," he says.

Stevens is familiar with Nickens' credentials. "I've known him since I was 12," he says. "My dad (Richie Sr.) used to race against him back in the day, so I know what he is capable of, and I'm really comfortable around him. I'm looking forward to working with him."

Nickens is also fond of Stevens' personality and driving ability. "He's been a good driver for a long time, and I think we'll be able to make some small gains and get him into the winner's circle real quick this year," says the Texas native.

"We've had a great relationship in the past with Mopar, and now we have a chance to parlay that into some race wins," adds Nickens.

Stevens is eager to get on Bristol Dragway following productive tests at Commerce Dragway this week. "We've got the horsepower," he says. "We just have to get the car down the track. We've had some problems in the sun, but hopefully a new set of eyes will help. Sometimes it takes a new person coming in and looking at things to fix them. Mike has been a clutch expert for several years, so bringing him in is great. It helps for a consistent car, and that is something that Don (Schumacher, team owner) has been stressing. Let's get a consistent race car and then go from there."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Warren Johnson