STEVENS CONVINCED HE'S A PIGPEN CLONE DALLAS (Oct. 9, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is convinced he's a clone of the Peanuts comic-strip character Pigpen who walks around through life with a cloud over his head. He only thought he was before ...
STEVENS CONVINCED HE'S A PIGPEN CLONE
DALLAS (Oct. 9, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is convinced he's a clone of the Peanuts comic-strip character Pigpen who walks around through life with a cloud over his head. He only thought he was before today.
In his fifth Pro Stock match-up of the season against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. in today's opening round of the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, Stevens lost another tight race, despite a strong performance by the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T. It was his third consecutive first-round exit since he reached his second final round of his initial season with Don Schumacher Racing at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day.
It came down to reaction times, and both Coughlin and Stevens are masters at that. Coughlin took off with a .020 (.000 is perfect) light, Stevens responded with a .027. That was all she wrote, as Coughlin crossed the finish line first with a 6.710-second elapsed time at 205.32 mph, winning on a holeshot advantage to Stevens' quicker yet losing 6.707/205.69.
"It is a joke," said Stevens of the Pigpen reference. "That cloud is still there. I think somebody is burning a candle somewhere on me.
"I had a good light. His was a tad bit better. What do you do? I don't know. I can't catch anybody making a mistake. Any time I run somebody, it seems they're on their best game, and I don't get any slack.
"Not that there's any slack cut in this class at all, but I cannot catch a break to save my life. It's unreal.
"We knew one of us was going to win this round for Don Schumacher Racing. I guess if I'm going to lose I'd rather lose to him, but I don't want to lose at all.
"I'm trying to do good. I'm trying to stay alive in points and it's going to hurt bad.
"Just a bad day. We qualified in the top half of the field, and usually that gives you the advantage. It seems like every time I qualify in the top half it doesn't work to my advantage, so maybe I just need to qualify 14th or 15th; maybe that will work out for me.
"We made a better run, he was better on the light. I gave up a little bit. I would have thought that would've been enough. I would have thought we could have outrun him based on our performance in qualifying.
"Actually, I thought I had won because I didn't see him next to me. When I heard Jeg had won I thought I had red-lighted, and I was really upset with myself. But that didn't happen. He beat us, fair and square."
Stevens dropped to ninth in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock standings, with two events remaining in the 2005 season.
Next up is the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas on Oct. 21-23.