STEVENS JR. COLLECTS THIRD CAREER NO. 1 IN QUALIFYING, IS SEMIFINALIST IN KING DEMON CROWN JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. held on to the No. 1 spot he claimed on Friday for Sunday's CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route...
STEVENS JR. COLLECTS THIRD CAREER NO. 1 IN QUALIFYING, IS SEMIFINALIST IN KING DEMON CROWN
JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. held on to the No. 1 spot he claimed on Friday for Sunday's CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway through two more rounds of qualifying, before NHRA cancelled the final round because of a long rain delay.
The track-record-breaking and career-best 6.635-second pass at 207.40 mph Stevens posted Friday night earned him his first No. 1 of 2006, the second for Don Schumacher Racing and the third of his career. It is also the second quickest Pro Stock pass in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series history, topping this weekend's quickest field in NHRA history.
Stevens also competed for a $50,000 first prize in the three-round King Demon Crown today, an NHRA special bonus event. He advanced the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T to the semifinals before being knocked out with a 6.701/206.48 pass by eventual event winner Greg Anderson's 6.664/206.89.
Stevens handily dismissed Kurt Johnson in the first round with a stellar 6.677/206.20 lap to Johnson's losing 6.695/206.83. The pair's reaction times were outstanding: .020 for Stevens, .018 for Johnson. Stevens was past Johnson by the 60-ft. mark, then led to the finish stripe.
The run doubled as a qualifying attempt and Stevens' two qualifying passes on Friday produced the pole-setting 6.635/207.40, and a 6.685/206.61.
"The track was real good out there, and we were going for it," said Stevens of the run against Anderson. "It picked the front end up and gradually it kept getting higher and higher, so it unloaded the chassis on the wheelie-bars and went into tire shake down low. It made a hard move towards the center line and I just kind of chased it back the rest of the way. Greg made a good run, and when it's your day, it's your day, and when it's not, it's not.
"All in all, it's been a good weekend. We're on the pole and we've got a great car for tomorrow. We really think we can win the race," says the 27-year old New Orleans native. "It would have been awesome to have won the King Demon Crown, but we're definitely focused on the race win. It would really mean a lot for this program right now."
Stevens takes home $3000 for his semifinal finish.
"We'll see what tomorrow is like. I'm pumped up to get it going," he added. "We have lane choice and we'll probably be last or second-to-last pair, so we should have a good handle on the track before we run. I'm feeling pretty good about it; the car has been running awesome and it's so consistent right now. We're definitely getting our stuff together here at Team Mopar/Valspar."
Stevens faces Steve Schmidt in the first round of Sunday's final eliminations.