Bristol: Richie Stevens final summary

STEVENS GOES TO FINAL ROUND IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1, 2005) - Richie Stevens bulldozed through the Pro Stock field today in his new Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus to reach the final round for the first time since joining...

STEVENS GOES TO FINAL ROUND IN BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1, 2005) - Richie Stevens bulldozed through the Pro Stock field today in his new Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus to reach the final round for the first time since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2005. This was also his first final round since his win in Englishtown, N.J., in 2001, his eighth career.

Stevens eliminated the reigning two-time champion Greg Anderson in the first round with a 6.754/203.98 pass, points leader coming into this race Dave Connolly in the second with a 6.750/204.05 and V Gaines in the semifinal with a 6.756/203.68. He entered each round with lane choice.

He had lane choice again when he faced six-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson in the final round. But his charge ended when he red-lighted with a -.049 reaction time, handing the win over to W.J., who claimed the victory with a 6.756/203.89 to Stevens' losing 6.777/203.22.

"We've been good all weekend," said the New Orleans native. "We were real consistent all day. Luckily we got in on that one hit yesterday and I'm just glad to make it into the final," he said, referring to his qualifying eighth in the only qualifying round held this weekend because of rain.

"It would have been nice to win. My fault. I need to straighten up a little bit. We got back in the top 10 in points, and we gained some ground and hopefully we'll get a win soon. I thought it was going to be today. Everything was kind of flowing like it should be, and I goofed up.

"I didn't have to push it that hard. W.J. and I ran identical times in the semifnals (W.J. posted a 6.757). I shouldn't have tried to push it as hard as I did. It was just final-round tension. I was nervous, anxious, wanting to win, wanting to win for everybody and I guess it just kind of bit me back."

Stevens moves into eighth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings.

Next up is the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., May 13-15.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Dave Connolly