Phoenix: Team Mopar Saturday summary

TEAM MOPAR PRO STOCK QUALIFYING REPORT FROM CSK NATIONALS RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Richie Stevens Jr....

TEAM MOPAR PRO STOCK QUALIFYING REPORT FROM CSK NATIONALS

RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:

Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Richie Stevens Jr. qualified No. 2 today, with an elapsed time of 6.640 seconds at 207.18 mph, recorded in the third of four qualifying sessions. His other laps included a 6.691/206.29, 6.658/207.53 and a 6.685/207.50.

This is Stevens' highest qualifying position in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class since he earned No. 1 in Joliet, Ill., last summer. It was a bittersweet day for the New Orleans native, as his J&J Racing teammate Allen Johnson failed to qualify, breaking his string of having qualified in 42 straight events.

At the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago, the roles were almost reversed, as Stevens barely made the field, in No. 16, and Johnson qualified No. 2.

"Last race Allen ran well," said Stevens. "He qualified second, and this weekend I'm second and he's out. Luckily, I was in. It's almost like we swapped doors on the car and I got the better car this weekend. He struggled and really didn't make a good run any of the runs. He got down the first run; that was really kind of lucky because it shook and spun all the way down.

"We made four good runs. The last one was a little violent, but luckily we made ours when it counted, this morning, got in, and got in solid.

"Tomorrow is another day. We start out in the second spot, which is the best we've qualified in quite a while, from last year. We have V. Gaines first round. We'll do our best and hopefully we'll go some rounds. We got a good car, it's been running good and it's been consistent. We got good power. If I can go out there and just do my job we should go a couple of rounds."

ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:

Allen Johnson failed to qualify for this weekend's CSK NHRA Nationals, breaking his string of having qualified for 42 straight NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock national events.

He posted one good run, a 6.705/207.18, in the opening session, followed by a string of early shut downs for tire shake: a 12.464/67.68, a 13.312/63.96, and a 13.066/64.35.

This was especially heartbreaking for Johnson as he had qualified No. 2 in the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago. He was also one of only four Pro Stock drivers in 2006 to have qualified for every race that season.

"It was a streak that just got broke," he said. "We don't know what's wrong. It did it in the first round in Pomona and it's done it every run since. We've changed everything on it and can't figure it out. It's just got us by the throat. I don't have any explanation."

There's no question that Pro Stock is a tough class. "You can't stump your toe at all in this class, or you do just what we're doing. You go home," Johnson said.

-credit: team mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Allen Johnson , Don Schumacher