STEVENS JR. EXITS FIRST ROUND IN GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2006) - The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class just keeps on getting tighter and tighter, and Richie Stevens Jr. is finding out the hard way how competitive...
STEVENS JR. EXITS FIRST ROUND IN GAINESVILLE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2006) - The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class just keeps on getting tighter and tighter, and Richie Stevens Jr. is finding out the hard way how competitive it is. After qualifying the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T in No. 5 with a career-quickest run of 6.664/206.04, he lost the first round of eliminations at the NHRA Gatornationals in a close contest against Tom Martino.
Both drivers launched with .025 (of a second) reaction times, but it was Martino first across the finish line, winning with a 6.696/204.35 pass to Stevens' 6.715/205.94.
"We had identical lights," said Stevens. "We left, it shook pretty bad down low. I tried to catch it and I was a little late on the gear change. It shook probably 10 feet off the line. I pulled out of second, I was just a touch late, but it still shook all the way through second gear and he was gone. We weren't going to catch him at that time.
"He just made a better run than us. I thought we had him. We made some good runs during qualifying, I thought we had it down pat. But we goofed up a little bit."
Few argue that Pro Stock is NHRA's most competitive class. "There's no room for mistakes," explained Stevens. "You have to be perfect every time. It's tougher and tougher every race every year. You have people who don't drive on a regular basis qualifying (for events). You had Dave Connolly and Kurt Johnson go home on Saturday night (not qualified).
"It's tough to get to Sunday, much less race on Sunday. It's a race in itself just to get qualified, when you have 30 or so cars showing up for a race and everybody is trying to get the 16 spots. You think you have a good one, that you might go a round or two. It just goes to show you that anybody can win. You can win from the 16th spot and you can win from the first spot."
Stevens Jr. is 10th in the Pro Stock point standings as he heads to the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, March 31-April 2.