Richmond: Team Mopar final report

STEVENS BUMPS OUT K.J. TO HELP A.J. Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, Richie Stevens Jr. was the quintessential teammate today when he bumped out Kurt Johnson in the second round of Pro Stock eliminations at the Torco Racing...

STEVENS BUMPS OUT K.J. TO HELP A.J.

Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, Richie Stevens Jr. was the quintessential teammate today when he bumped out Kurt Johnson in the second round of Pro Stock eliminations at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, assuring his Team Mopar partner Allen Johnson a slot in the Countdown to One playoffs.

Stevens first defeated Kenny Koretsky in the opening round, using a 6.654-second elapsed time at 206.86 mph to do so, then ousted K.J. with a .030 reaction time (.000 is perfect) and a 6.670/206.39 pass.

Dave Connolly in the semifinals showed him the door, however, after Stevens red-lighted to the points leader's .018 reaction time. Connolly earned the win with a 6.647/207.66 to Stevens' disqualified 6.668/206.07.

The New Orleans native is ninth in the point standings, while A.J. locked in the valuable No. 4 spot.

"We had a good day," said Stevens. "I had to push it up there. Connolly had us covered a couple of hundredths (of a second) going into the semis and I had to go up there and kind of push it. I saw yellow, but it still went red. But we couldn't have beaten him with a perfect light, anyway. He was .018 on the tree. Even if we'd have been an .000 it still would have come up short.

"Overall, a good weekend. We took out Kurt, which we needed to do for Allen to help him out in the points, qualified well (No. 3), and gained some ground on Jim Yates in the standings. We stayed ahead of V. Gaines, who went to the finals today and was runner-up to Connolly. It's too bad he didn't win; he deserves to win.

"We'll head to Vegas on a high note and go out there and try to defend the title."

ALLEN JOHNSON LOCKS IN NO. 4 IN COUNTDOWN TO ONE

When his teammate Richie Stevens Jr. knocked out Kurt Johnson in the second round of eliminations at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, Allen Johnson locked in No. 4 in the Countdown to Four point standings. He will now vie with three others for the Pro Stock crown in the Countdown to One in the final two events of the season.

Johnson, who qualified No. 6, was defeated by Kurt Johnson in the opening round when K.J. ran him down despite a .020 reaction time by A.J. (.000 is perfect) to K.J.'s .029. K.J. took the win with a 6.645/207.50 to A.J.'s losing 6.658/206.51.

With his loss to Stevens, K.J. was relegated to No. 5 and out of the Countdown points.

"What a weekend," said A.J. "We did everything we were supposed to do on our side of the ladder. We qualified well, we made a really really good run first round. We would have beaten anybody else of the whole 16. Kurt just laid down the run of the century, as so often people do against me for some reason. Can't take nothing away from Kurt. He was flying today; he didn't qualify well. But we'll take this and it will make that trip to Vegas a lot better. I was looking pretty alone there for a minute.

"It was great that Richie could do it for me. That's why God made teammates. That might get him a little bit out of his driving slump, give him a little confidence.

"We'll go to Vegas hot as a firecracker and see if we can't get him to take out some of our competition for this Countdown."

-credit: mopar/dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Kurt Johnson , Kenny Koretsky , Allen Johnson , Dave Connolly