RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: NO LOVE AT NORWALK FOR STEVENS JR. No. 2 qualifier Richie Stevens Jr.'s bid for his first win of the year ended earlier than he would have liked today at the ...
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
NO LOVE AT NORWALK FOR STEVENS JR.
No. 2 qualifier Richie Stevens Jr.'s bid for his first win of the year ended earlier than he would have liked today at the Inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. His first-round run of 6.646/207.05 went for naught, as Larry Morgan took the holeshot win in a match-up of HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/Ts.
The story of this race resided in the reaction times: .040 for Morgan, a slower .078 for Stevens. Factor in Morgan's slower pass of 6.660/207.05, and there's no doubt Stevens possessed the faster car, making the defeat a bitter pill to swallow for the New Orleans native.
"The car is where it needs to be. We had five good runs this weekend, including today," said Stevens, pilot of the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T. "The car is running fast. It's going down the track every time. We've got that end of it handled. It's my fault, totally. No excuses.
"I just got out late off the starting line, and it gave Larry the win. Larry kind of rushed me a little bit, but I saw what he was doing, and I was prepared for it. But I guess I wasn't one hundred percent prepared. Neither of us had really good lights. He got me a little bit off the tree, and that's all it took.
"I had a 6.64. I think that was second best of the round, so I would've had lane choice against V. [Gaines]. That's the way it goes. That's part of this whole deal."
Stevens fell one spot to ninth in the NHRA Pro Stock standings.
"We'll head on to Bristol. I've had some luck there, so maybe we can get a few round wins."
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
JOHNSON REACHES SEMIFINALS AT INAUGURAL NORWALK EVENT
Team Mopar Pro Stocker Allen Johnson made his third semifinals appearance of the season today at the Inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, defeating Jim Yates and Jason Line before losing in the semis to the HEMI-powered Lucas Oil Dodge Stratus R/T piloted by Larry Morgan.
Johnson dispatched Yates with a run of 6.665/206.57 to Yates' 6.677/206.42. In the quarterfinals, Johnson posted a 6.671/205.35 to take a win he secured off the starting line, due to a red-light by Line.
Johnson, just like his teammate Richie Stevens Jr., was victim of a superior reaction time by Morgan. Johnson posted a pass of 6.702/206.29 with a .049 reaction time; Morgan's .010 reaction time, coupled with a 6.717/206.26 run, was enough to keep AJ from making his second final round appearance of the year.
"You know, we've got one of the best cars out here, and we proved that again this weekend," said Johnson, driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T. He remains fifth in the NHRA Pro Stock standings. "We gave one up there at the end and it really hurts. Larry took a run at the tree, and we didn't have a really good run up there. I feel like we maybe let a win, or at least a runner-up finish, get away from us this week.
"We're looking for that consistency. We're gaining on fourth place every week. Maybe we can get up there in that fourth-place spot before the Countdown.
"You get off to a good start on this six-race stretch, and you gain some momentum and get some confidence. I think that's where we are at right now."
Next up for Stevens and Johnson is the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., July 6-8, 2007. For more information, visit www.nhra.com.