RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, Richie Stevens Jr. met up with his teammate Allen Johnson in the second round of eliminations after defeating Jim...
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, Richie Stevens Jr. met up with his teammate Allen Johnson in the second round of eliminations after defeating Jim Yates in the opening stanza of the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals. Yates fouled out, handing an easy win to Stevens, who covered the quarter-mile in 6.709 seconds at 205.54 mph.
Stevens lost lane choice to Johnson by just .005 of a second, yet scorched the starting lights with a .015 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Johnson's .020. It wasn't enough, though, to take the win, as Johnson earned it with a 6.686/206.64 pass and a margin of victory of .0555 of a second.
"It left the start line and it either spun real bad or I was a little bit light on the clutch," said Stevens. "It just didn't make a good run. Allen made a really nice run, he went a .68. I had him a little bit on the tree, but we'd have had to run right with him pretty much to stay ahead of him.
"At least one of the Mopars went to the semifinals and then to the finals. Allen carried the Mopar banner all the way to the finals and almost won this deal. Wish it was me. It's a home race, would have liked to do good in front of family and friends and everybody else here. Maybe next year.
"The cars seem to be doing good. We did some testing this week in Dallas and did pretty good. We made three or four pretty good runs this weekend. Today's run wasn't for lack of setup. We broke the lash cap on it, so that had some effect on the run and slowed it down a little bit. And I think it just spun up a little bit there in the left lane.
"I don't think it was our fault. It was just a freak deal with the lash cap and the left lane was not the lane of choice."
ALLEN JOHNSON, J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T: Allen Johnson made it to his first Pro Stock final round of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season today and just missed winning his first race of the year and fifth career by .0063 of a second in his final-round match-up against Jason Line.
Johnson took off with an outstanding .010 reaction time (.000 is perfect), to Line's .055, but it was Line first at the finish with a 6.661/207.75 to Johnson's 6.712/206.26.
En route to his 10th career final round, Johnson defeated Erica Enders with a 6.704/205.85 (.021 reaction time). He then eliminated his teammate Richie Stevens with a 6.686/206.64 (.020 reaction time).
In the semifinals he disposed of Dave Connolly with a slower 6.714/206.73 pass on a holeshot with a stellar .006 light to Connolly's .070.
"The last couple of runs we just struggled a little bit with the setup," he said. "It shook a little bit but, hey, we got to the finals for Mopar, qualified both cars really good - 3 and 6. We've got some stuff going, and we'll be back next week."
It turned into a fine gift for his dad and engine builder Roy, who suffered two heart attacks at the Phoenix race but was back to work shortly thereafter. "After going through all that," said the younger Johnson, "he's really enjoying it probably now more than he was, knowing he has the opportunity."
Next up for both is the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
-credit: team mopar/dsr