TWO-TIME E'TOWN CHAMP STEVENS RETURNS TO FAVORITE TRACK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2005) - Two of his four career Pro Stock victories came right here at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., so you can't fault Richie Stevens Jr.
TWO-TIME E'TOWN CHAMP STEVENS RETURNS TO FAVORITE TRACK
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2005) - Two of his four career Pro Stock victories came right here at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., so you can't fault Richie Stevens Jr. for being excited about returning here in his first season driving the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing.
The New Orleans native will be looking for his first win with DSR and Mopar at this weekend's K&N Filters SuperNationals. Fresh from a strong semifinal finish at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., last weekend, where teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. was runner-up, 26-year-old Stevens his high expectations.
"I expect to do good here," he said. "We had a good weekend in Chicago. I've always done pretty well in Englishtown, so I'm expecting some good results this weekend."
Stevens won here in 1999 and 2001. He cut short his career in 2002 to take care of the family business while dad Richie Sr. underwent successful open-heart surgery. He's back this year and he's been waiting all season to get to Englishtown. "It's been kind of a good-luck place for me.
"It's just been one of my better tracks and I don't know why. I'm certainly looking to qualify well this weekend and go some rounds on Sunday and hopefully the momentum will just carry over from Chicago. We had a good weekend there, with Jeg making the finals and me going to the semis and we both moved up in the points."
Stevens is sixth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points; Coughlin is eighth. Both cars are tuned by 10-time Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden.
"This is a good track. You usually run some good times here if it's cool enough, but I don't think it's going to be cool this weekend.
"We'll see. I've been looking forward to getting here all year and we're here now and I'm ready.
"Maybe this will be our weekend."
RICHIE STEVENS JR. QUICK FACTS:
* Two-time Englishtown winner, in 1999 and 2001
* Sixth in 2005 Pro Stock points after 10 races, reached final round once, was No. 1 qualifier once
* Joined Don Schumacher Racing after sending in a resume for 2005 season
* Cut short driving career in 2002 to run family business while dad Richie Sr. underwent open-heart surgery
* With dad Richie Stevens Sr. owns Stevens Collision Center in New Orleans
* Born and raised in New Orleans, is 26 years old
* His career-best ET and speed so far: 6.696 ET at 207.08 mph in Gainesville, Fla., 2005
* Has longtime relationship with associate sponsor Valspar
* Capped off rookie season in 1998 with a victory in his first final-round appearance (Pomona 2)
* Is youngest Pro Stock driver to win a national event, at 20-one month, in 1998
* Has four career wins in eight final rounds, two No. 1 qualifiers to his credit
* In 1999 he became the eighth member of the Speed Pro 200-mph Pro Stock Club with a 200.08 mph run in Richmond, Va.
* Competed in Roy Hill's Pro Mod car in 2004, with a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals his best result