IN A SQUEAKER, STEVENS MAKES IT INTO FIELD IN FINAL SESSION GAINESVILLE, Ga. (March 19, 2005) - Under Friday's overcast and downright cold conditions, Richie Stevens Jr. and crew chief Bob Glidden struggled to get down Gainesville Raceway's ...
IN A SQUEAKER, STEVENS MAKES IT INTO FIELD IN FINAL SESSION
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (March 19, 2005) - Under Friday's overcast and downright cold conditions, Richie Stevens Jr. and crew chief Bob Glidden struggled to get down Gainesville Raceway's quarter-mile to qualify the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Pro Stock. And, by the end of the third qualifying round today under warmer conditions, Stevens and teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. were out of the top-16 qualifiers.
Stevens and Glidden knew the fourth and final round was their last chance to make it into the field for the third straight race of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class.
Stevens watched as Coughlin made a pass in front of him that placed him solidly in No. 10 in the field, with a 6.686/207.13. With a similar setup on his car, Stevens breathed a cautious sight of relief and stepped up to the plate. As he launched, the car moved to the left, but a quick return to the groove and a straight run to the finish line rewarded Stevens with a No. 14 qualifying pass of 6.696/207.08.
"There was a lot of pressure on that one," said Stevens, 26, of New Orleans, "but we pulled it off and it feels great to do it. We made some bad runs yesterday and this morning. The weren't really bad, but they were not where we wanted to be, so to come out there in the last run in probably the worst conditions of the weekend and get it in the field feels great.
"Bob did a great job setting the car up, and so did everybody else. I'm just thrilled to be in.
"We were just missing the clutch setup all weekend," he explained. "Last night we were light on clutch, this morning we had too much clutch, and we just kept missing the whole setup. I guess Bob came into the hauler and picked his brain a little bit and figured out something that we'd been missing.
"And, I tell you what, that was the smoothest run we made all weekend. It didn't go perfectly straight, but we'll make up for that tomorrow.
"I saw Jeggie go down and he went that 6.686, so I said it's definitely out there. But I left the starting line and it went off a little bit to the left and I was kind of concerned going down there. When I went through at the end Bob never came across the radio and said anything so I thought, well, that's either really good or really bad. Then he came across and said we were in.
"It was good. He said I ran a 6.69. When I heard 6.60, that's all I needed to hear. I knew we were in. We're in there tomorrow, we have Kenny Koretsky in the first round, it will be a good race and hopefully we can go some rounds."