STEVENS EXITS IN QUARTERFINALS AT ENGLISHTOWN ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. used some racing luck to reach the Pro Stock second round of the K&N Filters SuperNationals when the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T broke...
STEVENS EXITS IN QUARTERFINALS AT ENGLISHTOWN
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18, 2006) - Richie Stevens Jr. used some racing luck to reach the Pro Stock second round of the K&N Filters SuperNationals when the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T broke a driveshaft before the 60-ft. mark in the opening stanza. Stevens still scored the victory because opponent Dave Howard red-lighted the start.
He could have used more luck in the second round against No. 1 qualifier Allen Johnson, but Stevens' car shook hard at the launch, resulting in a 7.504-second elapsed time at 166.62 mph and a loss to Johnson's 6.736/205.44.
Stevens doesn't blame the broken driveshaft for the second-round miscue. "The car spun terribly again in that second round," he explained. "It was just like the first run, except we didn't break the driveshaft this time. I was a little late on the tree (.106 to Johnson's .023), and the car spinning hard like it did probably magnified it a little bit."
"All in all, it doesn't matter right now. My day was done a couple rounds earlier than I thought it would. We felt like we had a really good car going into today," offered the New Orleans native.
Team Mopar/Valspar had to swap out rear-ends between rounds. "We borrowed a rear-end off of Kenny Koretsky because he had one off a car already," said Stevens, who has won twice in Englishtown. "The only other one we had was on Shaun's (teammate Carlson) car and it would have taken too long to get it out of the trailer and off of the car. He helped us out and pulled us out of a hole a little bit. It's just too bad we couldn't capitalize on it and win the second round."
Crew chief David Nickens said the mechanical problems weren't to blame for the loss. "We just didn't do a good job on the set-up," he said. "It did something totally unexpected both first and second round, so we'll just have to go over the car with a fine-tooth comb to see what's going on there. We'll get it straightened out for St. Louis."
Stevens wants to get back into the top 10 in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock standings. He currently stands 13th. "I'm glad we got the first round win; now we're 20 points closer to the top 10 than we were with (Greg) Stanfield and (Larry) Morgan losing first round. We just have to keep working hard and getting round wins. Momentum is big in this class, and nothing is worse than going out first round, so I'm glad we got one round today."
Stevens and Team Mopar/Valspar look to next weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals in Madison, Ill., June 23-25 to vie for their first victory for DSR.