Commerce: Richie Stevens final summary

RICHIE STEVENS OUT IN OPENING ROUND IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (May 15, 2005) - Following a four-hour rain delay today, which included track drying and preparation, eliminations began at 3:05 p.m. for the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta ...

RICHIE STEVENS OUT IN OPENING ROUND IN ATLANTA

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 15, 2005) - Following a four-hour rain delay today, which included track drying and preparation, eliminations began at 3:05 p.m. for the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Lane choice for the Pro Stock class was a gamble, in particular for the first pair out after Top Fuel and Funny Cars completed their runs. Richie Stevens was in that pairing in the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus Pro Stock versus Larry Morgan.

Stevens had earned lane choice by qualifying No. 8 and selected the right lane. That choice may have bit him, as he had a tough time getting the car hooked up to the finish, losing to Morgan's 6.796/202.76 with a 6.853/201.49 pass. The margin of victory was .1101 of a second.

"Every time I pulled the gears, it broke loose and started shaking," said Stevens. "In second gear, third, fourth and even in high gear. As soon as I pulled fifth gear it broke loose.

"We made four good runs in qualifying and never had a problem. I'm not going to put the full blame on the lanes, but Rickie Smith was right behind us in that lane and he said his car did the same thing, pretty much. He just lifted. I stayed in it, like a fool, I guess, but I made it down the track, and Rickie didn't (7.892/128.76).

"Being the first pair down isn't always the best deal, and it definitely wasn't our day today."

Stevens remains in eighth place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings, with 330 points.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Morgan , Rickie Smith