STEVENS JR. LOOKING GOOD IN VEGAS, QUALIFIES NO. 4 LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) - Heading into this weekend's NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Richie Stevens Jr. was hoping to get the Team Mopar/Valspar ...
STEVENS JR. LOOKING GOOD IN VEGAS, QUALIFIES NO. 4
LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) - Heading into this weekend's NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Richie Stevens Jr. was hoping to get the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T back on track by laying down four consistent Pro Stock qualifying runs. The New Orleans native did just that, as he put himself solidly in the No. 4 spot with a 6.790-second run at 202.42 mph.
Stevens narrowly missed the pole by three-thousandths of a second, and eventually dropped to the No. 4 position when two other drivers posted identical elapsed times but edged Stevens with a faster speed in the highly-competitive Pro Stock field.
"We could easily have been No. 2," he said, "but we lost it by speed. Warren (Johnson) and Erica (Enders) got us on the mile-per-hour, and had we gotten another thousandth (of a second) we would have been No. 2. But, I'm happy with it; it shows we are making some progress. We needed some momentum and a good string of runs."
The passes included a 6.797/202.67, a 6.790/202.42, a 6.806/202.39 and a 6.847/202.21.
The Strip is quickly becoming one of Stevens' favorite tracks. "We tested great out here in February, had some success in the Pro Stock Showdown, and now we put down four great runs when we've been struggling lately. Now, we are back here and we've got a good car heading into tomorrow. We've definitely shown that we are getting our program sorted out."
For the fourth time in five events, Stevens qualified in the top half of the field. "I don't know if lane choice will be a factor, but, regardless, we'll have preference if we need it," he said. "We face our fellow Mopar car (Allen Johnson) in the first round, which is good and bad, because a Mopar car will be going to the second round, but that doesn't mean it will be us. I hope it's us, we need some round wins. A few guys in the top 10 didn't qualify for the race, so we have a chance to make some moves," Stevens added, who is No. 11 in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points.