Topeka: Team Mopar Saturday summary

RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Richie Stevens Jr. posted two good runs out of only three available to him to qualify the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in No. 8 for the O'Reilly NHRA...

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

Richie Stevens Jr. posted two good runs out of only three available to him to qualify the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in No. 8 for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. His quickest pass came in the first Pro Stock session today, in which he registered a 6.74-second elapsed time at 204.20 mph.

Stevens completed only one pass on Friday, a 6.761/204.51, before intermittent rain showers cancelled the rest of the second round after only seven cars made it down the quarter-mile.

In today's final attempt, Stevens shut it down after experiencing tire shake in the less-desirable right lane, and coasted to a 12.795/67.67.

"I think we were maybe a little too aggressive," he said of that last try. "It shook out there. Luckily, we hung on to lane choice tomorrow against Tom Hammonds first round, so that's going to be a plus. I think the left lane is definitely worth a little bit. As far as the numbers go I don't know if there's a difference, but the left lane is definitely worth having.

"We're here, we missed the King Demon Crown 'shootout' by a little bit. I was hoping to come here and maybe pull one out of the hat on that one, but we missed that (No. 8) spot.

"Hey, at least we qualified here. We'll stay in it, try to keep going rounds, try to pick up a win tomorrow. It would be nice. Allen and I are both in the top half and we're not on the same side of the ladder, so we'll see what we can do tomorrow."

Stevens and Allen Johnson tested their Mopars during the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series recent three-weekend hiatus. "We did a lot of testing since St. Louis," Stevens explained. "We tested in St. Louis after the race, we tested in Chicago, we tested in Denver. We're just trying to gain data. It's a brand-new car. We had it since Atlanta, but we're still trying to gain data on it, to see what it likes and what it doesn't like. We got a lot of positive things out of it in Chicago, and we gained some good ground in Denver last week. The Denver setup is totally different to here, so we can't use it.

"We just kind of goofed up on this last run. We were trying to creep up a couple of spots and get a little bit higher in the field, but it bit us."

Stevens will meet No. 9 qualifier Tom Hammonds in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

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

Allen Johnson drove the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T smack into the No. 3 spot in qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

Despite only having three of four rounds of qualifying because of rain, Johnson sailed expertly down the quarter-mile in each session, producing first a 6.760-second pass at 204.29 in Friday's only pass, then followed up on Saturday with a 6.728/204.88 and his quickest in the final run of 6.724/204.82.

"It's the first time we had the good lane," he said of his final lap. "We knew that left lane was going to be good and we thought we could step it up when we got over there. It sort of it proved it too with what Richie did. That's the fist time he's had the right lane, and it just blew the tires off of it and it shook.

"But I feel good about it. I think we got something for them tomorrow. We both got lane choice. Our game plan, remember, is to just get lane choice, and go a round, and take it from there."

As for missing Friday's night session: "Didn't miss it. We did well in the heat and that's what we're going to race in and that's what we need to qualify in."

Johnson faces Justin Humphreys in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-credit: team mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Tom Hammonds , Allen Johnson , Justin Humphreys