STEVENS JR. EARNS NO. 9 IN COLUMBUS QUALIFYING HEBRON, Ohio (May 20, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. qualified the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in No. 9 at National Trail Raceway, with four strong qualifying runs, despite having to deal with...
STEVENS JR. EARNS NO. 9 IN COLUMBUS QUALIFYING
HEBRON, Ohio (May 20, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. qualified the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in No. 9 at National Trail Raceway, with four strong qualifying runs, despite having to deal with some NHRA timing glitches today.
His best qualifying pass of 6.696 seconds at 204.98 mph in the third session was initially thrown out because of problems with the track's timing system. NHRA officials questioned his 60-ft. incremental time (.968) and deemed it to be inaccurate. But, when four other drivers had similar 60-ft. times in the final qualifying session, they validated Stevens' time. The ruling moved him from the No. 14 position to No. 9.
Stevens was strong on Friday, with a 6.728/204.73 lap, a 6.719/204.60, and then posted a 6.727/204.98 in the final qualifying session today.
"We made a good run this morning and they tried to pull it from us," he said. "We knew there was nothing wrong with it; we just made a killer 60-ft. move. We've always been at the top of the sheet with our 60-ft. (incremental), so I was really surprised when they threw it out.
"David (Nickens, crew chief) stated our case and had the data to back it up, and luckily the NHRA did the right thing and reinstated it after the other cars ran equal or better than us at the 60-ft. mark."
Stevens faces off against three-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. "We'll be first pair out, and anything can happen with that. It would have been nice to have had lane choice, because this can sometimes be a one-lane track, but we'll give it our best shot. This place has been good to me in the past," he said, referring to his semifinal finishes in 1999 and 2000.
"We need to go some rounds tomorrow so we can get back in the top 10 in points. I'm happy that we have rebounded nicely from our DNQ in Atlanta by qualifying well, and it would be nice to cap off the weekend with some round wins.
"There hasn't been a repeat winner yet this year in Pro Stock, and I'd love to keep that going, but first we have to get around Greg in the first round. We'll have our game faces on and try to take care of business."