STEVENS JR. EXITS FIRST ROUND IN COLUMBUS HEBRON, Ohio (May 21, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. had a tough first-round match-up today in Pro Stock final eliminations at National Trail Raceway, when he faced three-time Pro Stock champion Greg...
STEVENS JR. EXITS FIRST ROUND IN COLUMBUS
HEBRON, Ohio (May 21, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. had a tough first-round match-up today in Pro Stock final eliminations at National Trail Raceway, when he faced three-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson. Anderson had not lost at this track since 2001.
As No. 9 qualifier, Stevens gave up lane choice and had to race down the tricky right lane in the opening round. He fought the track early in the run after he and Anderson launched with virtually identical reaction times (.044 for Stevens, .045 for Anderson). The Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T was leading at half-track, but ultimately Stevens' 6.762-second pass at 205.01 mph was not enough to overcome the defending event champion's late-charging 6.744/205.10. Margin of victory: .0175 of a second.
Stevens gave it all he had. "I left the line and it spun real bad," he explained, "and it spun again in second gear, then it got its act together about third gear. But, all the way down the track, the car was moving around pretty bad. I don't know if it was the wind, or just the track.
"Every car that won (first round) was in the left lane, other than Erica (Enders), who red-lighted her run in the left lane, so that pretty much shows what we were up against. You had to nail the light and have a perfect run to have a chance, and we came up short this time," he said. "You come to these one-lane race tracks and it's hard to win unless someone red-lights or breaks, and that is why it is so important to be in the top half of the field and to have lane choice.
"We'll go to Topeka and hopefully put ourselves on the top of the sheet in qualifying, and try to turn it around on Sunday. These short Sundays are getting old, but I have faith in this team because they have been working so hard and we have a lot of good people. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."
Stevens is 14th in the point standings, with 303 points.
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to Heartland Park Topeka (Kansas) next weekend for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, May 25-28.