Memphis: Team Mopar Saturday notes

STEVENS QUALIFIES NO. 5 IN MEMPHIS Richie Stevens Jr. made steady improvement through each round of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, finally landing in the No. 5 spot driving the Team...

STEVENS QUALIFIES NO. 5 IN MEMPHIS

Richie Stevens Jr. made steady improvement through each round of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, finally landing in the No. 5 spot driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T.

His quickest pass of 6.605 seconds at 207.91 mph came in today's third qualifying session under almost ideal conditions, with temperatures hovering around the high 70s and under low humidity.

Stevens' previous passes included a 6.740/204.05, a 6.713/204.88, and a 6.629/207.62 in the final session.

"We've been running good," said Stevens. "We put a new motor in for today and it showed to be a little better than the other one. The other one wasn't really running mile-an-hour too well, so we took that one out and put one in this morning and it ran real good.

"We went .60 in the first run, it went .62 right now in the (less-desirable) right lane, which really I don't think was a bad run. We've got a good car going into tomorrow. I'm just trying to get myself together and go some rounds.

"A.J. and I are on opposite sides of the ladder, and hopefully we can go the distance and get one of these cars in the finals.

"The Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge made four good runs in qualifying. We struggled in Indy to make four good runs, we struggled in Reading, and just to have four solid runs going into Sunday feels better. It's been a while since we've done it. Hopefully it pays off for us and we can go the distance."

Stevens faces V. Gaines in opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

A.J. TAKES THE NO. 6 SPOT IN MEMPHIS QUALIFYING

Allen Johnson posted four solid and steady qualifying passes at the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, ending up No. 6.

The driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus recorded his quickest lap of 6.607/207.85 in the final qualifying session today under excellent conditions, although today's earlier session enjoyed even more ideal weather.

Before that pass, his runs included a 6.735/205.26, a 6.700/205.54 and a 6.624/208.07.

"We got that good lane that time," he said of the left lane. "Made a really good run in it. This morning we left a little on the table. We may have been third, or second. We'll take it. Got lane choice, got a tough run tomorrow against (Larry) Morgan. If we win that one we got a tough one again with Greg (Anderson), probably. So we've got our work cut out for us. But, hey, you've got to race everybody. We'll just stick to our game plan."

As for any difference in the lanes, "Lane choice seems to be important," he said. "But it looks the right lane is coming around every round, so maybe tomorrow there won't be a lot of difference if we get stuck over there. We'll just do our best.

"The cool weather just makes the engines run so much faster, but everybody gets the same air."

-credit: dsr/mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Allen Johnson