Englishtown: Richie Stevens Jr. preview

RICHIE STEVENS JR. HEADS TO ENGLISHTOWN ON AN UPSWING ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. got the performance from the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T that he had been looking for all season this past weekend when he went...

RICHIE STEVENS JR. HEADS TO ENGLISHTOWN ON AN UPSWING

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. got the performance from the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T that he had been looking for all season this past weekend when he went to the semifinals in the King Demon Crown special event, qualified No. 1, set an elapsed-time track record, and raced to the Pro Stock semifinals of the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

Now, he takes the momentum to the track where he's had the most success (two wins, 1999 and 2001) on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series 23-race tour: historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (Englishtown, New Jersey) for this weekend's K&N Filters SuperNationals.

"We're really looking forward to getting to Englishtown," said Stevens. "I've had a lot of luck in Jersey in the past. I won there a couple of times and had a semifinal finish there in 2000. Hopefully, we can do the same thing we did last weekend, make some good consistent runs on Friday and get solidly in the show. Then, we can try other things on Saturday, like race set-up and experimenting with little things, instead of struggling to get into the field."

He credits crew chief David Nickens and new assistant crew chief Terry Adams for the recent turnaround. "I can't say enough about these guys. I know I sound like a broken record, but I think they are the reason this car is running the way it is. It has power and is consistent. They definitely have their stuff together, and it feels good to be on the right path and to be making progress.

"If we can keep doing well and going rounds, then we can get back into the top 10 and go from there. It's still early enough to work our way up the ladder; we just have to keep our heads down and stay positive."

Stevens currently sits 13th in the POWERade Pro Stock point standings, only 36 points out of the top 10.

RICHIE STEVENS JR. QUICK FACTS: Thirteenth in 2006 NHRA Pro Stock standings after 10 events

Has won twice at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (1999 and 2001, semifinal finish in 2000)

Qualified No. 3 (6.701) at 2005 K&N Filters SuperNationals, lost second round to Larry Morgan

Semifinalist in King Demon Crown at Chicago 2006

Joined Don Schumacher Racing after sending in a resume for 2005 season

Eighth in 2005 Pro Stock points, reached final round twice, was No. 1 qualifier once

Qualified No. 1 in Chicago last week, for his first pole position of 2006, third of career

Cut short driving career in 2002 to run family business while dad Richie Sr. underwent open-heart surgery

With dad Richie Stevens Sr. owns Stevens Collision Center in New Orleans

Born and raised in New Orleans, is 27 years old (Sept. 27, 1978)

His career-best ET and speed so far: 6.635 ET at 207.40 mph (Chicago 2006)

Has longtime relationship with associate sponsor Valspar

Capped off rookie season in 1998 with a victory in his first final-round appearance (Pomona 2)

Is youngest Pro Stock driver to win a national event, at 20 and one month, in 1998

Has four career wins in nine final rounds, three No. 1 qualifiers to his credit

In 1999 he became the eighth member of the Speed Pro 200-mph Pro Stock Club with a 200.08 mph run in Richmond, Va.

Competed in Roy Hill's Pro Mod car in 2004, with a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals his best result

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Larry Morgan , Don Schumacher