STEVENS FOULS OUT IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. was well-rested, relaxed and ready to go this morning in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Unfortunately, the gremlins he's been battling all year took over again as he red-lighted for the third time this season, losing the opening round to Greg Stanfield, who took the victory with a 6.866-second ET at 201.31 mph.
Stevens' potentially winning 6.860/201.16 pass was disqualified.
"I didn't even know I red-lighted until I got to the end," said the clearly disappointed driver of the Team Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T.
"I waited a second (at the starting line). I wasn't going to go right in because I knew he likes to stage last. So, I waited a second, I went in and I was ready. I didn't anticipate it. I thought I just got a good light. I left and I was ahead of him a little bit and I thought, We got him.
"We went through to the end and my win light didn't come on. I had no idea I had red-lighted. No idea.
"I just can't believe the way it's gone. We made four good runs in qualifying and I was hitting the tree good.
"I was fine. I went up there with a clear head. I went to bed early last night, had a good night's sleep, woke up fine, everything was good, no problems.
"I might have been up there staged a little deep," he reflected. "I was that much closer to breaking the beam. I will look at the video later. That's the only thing I could think of, because I saw yellow and I went. Just the normal routine.
"But the way my luck has been going lately, it went red, not green."
Stevens fell to ninth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points, with 1008. His teammate Jeg Coughlin, who went out in the second round, is eighth, with 1029.
Next up is the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 3-6, which will close out the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.