STEVENS JR. ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2006) - Richie Stevens, Jr., and Team Mopar/Valspar got their first Pro Stock round win of the 2006 campaign in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today at the Checker...
STEVENS JR. ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2006) - Richie Stevens, Jr., and Team Mopar/Valspar got their first Pro Stock round win of the 2006 campaign in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway. Stevens easily defeated Dave Connolly in the opening round, then fell to Greg Stanfield in the second.
In his match-up with Connolly, Stevens registered a near perfect reaction time of .009 of a second (.000 is perfect), and sped down the quarter-mile with an elapsed-time of 6.718-seconds at 204.98 mph to Connolly's losing 7.290/146.10.
Following that run crew chief Bob Glidden found some engine damage, but the team ran out of time to replace the engine before the second round. Changing engines is a difficult task for Pro Stockers, whose engines usually last through multiple events. "Bob could tell the engine was hurt, but we didn't have time to replace it, so we went up there with what we had," said Stevens.
Stevens believes the hurt engine and the loss of lane choice for the second round may have cost him a chance at a win against Stanfield, as appeared to be evident by Stevens' 6.777/204.66 lap to Stanfield's noticeably quicker 6.729/204.82.
"We lost lane choice by two-thousandths (of a second), and that probably cost us," said Stevens. "If we would have been in the left lane we would have made a better run, and I think we kind of went up there on a prayer with the engine," said the New Orleans native.
Despite that, Stevens feels good vibes from the weekend and is ninth in the point standings. "Overall it was a good weekend. We qualified well and won a round. You hate to lose first round like we did in Pomona (on a holeshot), so just to get a round win and stay in the top 10 in points is important at this stage of the season.
"We'll do some testing before Gainesville, so that will be good. I want to work on my reaction times, and Shaun (Carlson, teammate) can get some more seat time," said Stevens. "We can get this Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T figured out on the tougher tracks; then head down to the Gatornationals with a tough car to beat.
The entire Don Schumacher Racing Pro Stock team will head to Valdosta, Ga., next weekend for several days of testing at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
Next up on the NHRA schedule is the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 16-19.