RICHIE STEVENS GOES TO SECOND ROUND IN GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr., who squeaked into the field in the final Pro Stock qualifying session on Saturday, while posting his career-best ET of 6.696 seconds and...
RICHIE STEVENS GOES TO SECOND ROUND IN GAINESVILLE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr., who squeaked into the field in the final Pro Stock qualifying session on Saturday, while posting his career-best ET of 6.696 seconds and career-best speed of 207.08 mph, advanced to the second round of eliminations today in the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T. After nailing the starting light with a .041 reaction time to Kenny Koretsky's .057, Stevens led the entire quarter-mile to take the win light with a 6.736-second ET at 205.71 mph to his opponent's 6.752/205.47.
Jason Line, teammate to two-time reigning Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, was up next in the quarter-final for the 26-year-old New Orleans native who joined Don Schumacher Racing this year. Stevens, without lane choice, had a tough match-up in that round, as Line took off with a .0017 reaction time to Stevens' .039. Line took the victory by a margin of victory of .0302 of a second with a 6.717/205.62, while Stevens posted a losing 6.725/205.85.
"I don't think either lane was much better than the other," said the 26-year-old New Orleans native. "I think the left lane may have been a tad bit better. That was the lane of choice by the faster cars.
"We still made a good run. I thought we had him. We were right with him the whole way down, but we came up a little short. He made a little better run than we did, but it was still a good day.
"It would have been hard to beat him," he said, even with a better reaction time. "We ran a 6.72 to his 6.71, so I'd have to have been perfect at the starting light in order to beat him. If I had had anybody else I probably would have won. That's the way it goes.
"I could have had a better light. With his having a .017, I'd have to have had a .001, .002 or .003 to beat him. I don't think I had that in me today. I'm not saying I couldn't ever do it. I might have been able to do a .020 or have been even with him, but I don't think we could have beat him. We made a pretty good run for that lane; that's about all the Team Mopar Dodge had today.
"We're leaving here in the top 10 (ninth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points), and we got both cars qualified (including teammate Jeg Coughlin's Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge) for the third race in a row. Mopar has to be happy with us, as well as Valspar and Matco Tools. I'm thrilled, I'm happy, I'm not disappointed in anyway at all.
"This is a very tough class. No slack given by anyone. You have to be on top of your game. I would have had to have been just as good or better to beat Jason. Today just wasn't that day, but it will come for us one day. Soon, hopefully."
For the record, Stevens does have one perfect reaction time to his credit (.000), set in Englishtown, N.J., in 2001 in the final round, which was one of his four career wins.
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway, April 8-10.