STEVENS JR. ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS IN CHICAGO JOLIET, Ill. (June 11, 2006) - No. 1 qualifier Richie Stevens Jr. had one of the strongest cars in eliminations at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway today, as he first...
STEVENS JR. ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS IN CHICAGO
JOLIET, Ill. (June 11, 2006) - No. 1 qualifier Richie Stevens Jr. had one of the strongest cars in eliminations at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway today, as he first breezed past Steve Schmidt (who red-lighted) into the second round, then beat KB Racing's Jason Line on a holeshot advantage to advance to the semifinal.
Stevens single-handedly tried to eliminate the KB Racing camp with the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, as he then faced Greg Anderson in the semifinal, but fouled out at the start, handing the win to the three-time defending POWERade Drag Racing Series champion.
Stevens staged deep at the starting line to try to get an advantage at the hit of the throttle. "I didn't think I was going to go red," he said. "I just think I rolled in there a little too deep into the box. I was trying to go for it, and it cost us this time.
"I was trying to throw something at him. I was trying to get him to have a .070 or .080 (reaction-time - .000 is perfect). It didn't work, obviously. He's a good driver; that's why he has three championships."
Anderson's reaction time was a .039, while Stevens' was a minus-.016.
Stevens ran a 6.674-second pass at 206.95 mph in the first round (fifth quickest), and had an outstanding light (.023) in the second round against Line (.044) to win on a holeshot (6.681/206.10 for Stevens, 6.670/206.76 for Line).
Overall, Stevens is pleased with the team's performance. "We qualified great and have obviously turned things around here for the better," he said. "We went three rounds and that is the first time we've done that in a long time (2005 U.S. Nationals, final round), so we can't hang our heads."
Stevens earned his first pole position of 2006 (third of his career) this weekend with a blazing run of 6.635/207.40, and earned $3,000 as a semifinalist in Saturday's King Demon Crown event.
"Having (crew chief) David Nickens, Terry Adams (assistant crew chief), and Mike Sullivan (clutch specialist) here is kind of like John Force's team with three crew chiefs - all very intelligent and working together. David has done his homework in the engine department, and we are just going to get stronger from here.
Stevens moves to 13th (from 14th) in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings, with 413 points.