RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Richie Stevens Jr. drove past Greg Stanfield to win the first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals, but a...
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Richie Stevens Jr. drove past Greg Stanfield to win the first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals, but a starting-line hiccup against V. Gaines in the quarterfinal eliminated the driver of Don Schumacher Racing's Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T.
Stevens aced Stanfield at the finish line by 17 inches, defeating him with a 6.671-second lap at 206.32 mph, to Stanfield's 6.685/205.88 (.025 reaction time for Stevens, .015 for Stanfield).
In the second round, V. Gaines took off with a .017-of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Stevens' uncharacteristically slow .107, a clear indication of something having gone wrong. Gaines claimed the victory with a 6.667/207.21 to Stevens' 6.871/205.35.
"We have a good car right now, the car's running really well," said Stevens. "I goofed up and let one get away from me right there. I went to go stage, I pushed the clutch in to stop, and the car was still kind of creeping forward. It's hard to remember everything in the process of it's creeping. I tried to put some more pressure down the clutch pedal and my foot slid up a little bit on it, which didn't give me the leverage I usually have. I think I went to adjust my foot - I must have let pressure off the clutch when I did it - and it kind of double-clutched on me and that was it. That was all that was needed, right there, to mess me up.
"He had a really good light, he was on time and ran a good run. It would have been hard to beat him. I'm not saying we couldn't have, but it's my fault. We'll jut go to the next one, that's all I can say. We ran good, we had a good car, we should've won that round, should've got around him, but that's the way it goes. You don't race on paper, you race on the track, and it bit us. It bit me."
Stevens is No. 10 in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings.
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Allen Johnson drove the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T to a Pro Stock quarterfinal finish at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals today, following a solid defeat of Dave Connolly in the opening round.
It was A.J. all the way after posting a .030 reaction time to Connolly's .032. Johnson edged out his opponent by 23 inches with a strong 6.663/207.05 pass versus A 6.667/206.70 from Connolly.
The second round was a tough one for Johnson, as Larry Morgan pulled out a .006 reaction time to Johnson's .033, and it was Morgan first at the finish stripe with a 6.670/206.70 to Johnson's 6.676/207.02. Margin of victory: 10 feet.
"Great weekend. We've got to be happy," said Johnson, who is fifth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points. "Didn't go our way; just some dumb luck yesterday. Today, the other car did what he had to do to beat us. You can't take anything away from him. He made the run of the weekend for himself and the light of the weekend for himself and we did pretty much our job. Went to the second round, built up some points."
Next up for the Team Mopar duo is the ProCare RX NHRA Nationals in Englishtown, N.J., June 22-24.