STEVENS SAVES MOPAR DODGE, BUT LOSES FIRST ROUND IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 14, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr.'s weekend got a lot more interesting just moments into his first round of eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals today. In...
STEVENS SAVES MOPAR DODGE, BUT LOSES FIRST ROUND IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 14, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr.'s weekend got a lot more interesting just moments into his first round of eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals today. In his face-off with Jason Line, the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T got loose and Stevens had to shut down the run before the finish line.
After the pair recorded near-identical reaction times (.057 for Stevens, .054 for Line), Stevens had a solid run going at mid-track and was only .024 of a second behind Line. The Mopar Dodge then veered first to the right, then to the left, and Stevens' shaky pass ended with a losing 7.005-second ET at 164.01 mph, versus Line's winning 6.736/204.60.
"It's not at all what we had in mind for the day," said the New Orleans native and four-time Pro Stock event winner. "When I got into fourth gear, I felt the back end of the car move, like it was spinning pretty good. It felt like it raised up just a little bit. It kind of made a little move towards the wall. I went to go correct it, and it just must have bit down pretty good. It shot back across (the track) and I had to lift. I couldn't go on with that one, and had to abort the run and save the car."
"I hadn't had one of those for a long time," he continued, "to have to abort it like that. It got my attention. I was kind of shaking down at the end of the track. I left the starting line and it spun the tires pretty good, and he pulled ahead. Chances are I probably wouldn't have driven around him anyway. We probably would not have gotten the win."
Stevens and Team Mopar/Valspar are still looking for some luck in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock class, after failing to reach the second round now in four of the last five events. "I guess maybe I jinxed myself when I said I made four good, consistent runs in qualifying," he said.
Stevens remains ninth in Pro Stock points, just 10 behind teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 19-21, 2005.