STEVENS JR. REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN BRISTOL, FEELS GOOD GOING INTO SOUTHERN NATIONALS BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. reached the quarterfinals today in Pro Stock eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals...
STEVENS JR. REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN BRISTOL, FEELS GOOD GOING INTO SOUTHERN NATIONALS
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. reached the quarterfinals today in Pro Stock eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, under the guidance of new crew chief David Nickens, but fell in the second round in a tough match-up against eventual event winner Jason Line.
Stevens beat Line at the starting lights by one-thousandth of a second (.033 to .034 - .000 is perfect), but the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T's 6.756-second elapsed time at 203.71 mph was not enough to beat Line's quicker 6.721/204.26.
For the second straight race, Stevens defeated fellow Mopar driver Allen Johnson in the first round, with a 6.745/203.52 pass to Johnson's 6.767/204.20. Stevens was fourth quickest of the opening round.
"The car went straight, and we made two pretty runs," said Stevens. "For David just stepping in like this and putting the car in the top half, giving me a consistent car, was awesome."
As for the recent team changes, "It's almost like starting fresh again," said Stevens. "We're all learning more about each other. David and all the crew guys have been working great together, and he has been allowing them to be more hands-on. Everyone is really working hard. It's just a matter of time before it all comes together and we start winning races."
Nickens is focused on getting the entire team going. "I've got mixed emotions because we made some strides with Richie," he said, "but I'm disappointed we didn't get Shaun (Carlson, driver of the Team Mopar/SRT Dodge Stratus R/T) in the show. We're going to work hard for Atlanta and make some gains," said the crew chief who holds 30 national event wins in Pro Stock.
Stevens and the team leave for Atlanta Dragway, where they tested last week. "I'm looking forward to it." said Stevens. "I feel very positive about going down there. We were second quickest of the test down there with a 6.760-second lap, and we have a lot of good data from the test. Hopefully the cars will be fast right off the trailer."
With today's effort, Stevens moved up from 12th to 10th in Pro Stock points standings.