STEVENS GOES TO SEMIS IN CHICAGO; MOVES UP IN POINTS JOLIET, Ill. (June 12, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. reached the semifinal round at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals for the second time this season in the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T Pro ...
STEVENS GOES TO SEMIS IN CHICAGO; MOVES UP IN POINTS
JOLIET, Ill. (June 12, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. reached the semifinal round at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals for the second time this season in the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock. His first visit to the semis in Bristol, Tenn., resulted in a runner-up finish; today's trip was cut short when Stevens was defeated by Jason Line.
His strong finish today from ninth qualifying position moved him up to sixth in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings. On his way to the semis, he dismissed Allen Johnson with a 6.781/203.61 lap in the opening round while oiling down the track with rear-end fluid, then defeated Bruce Allen with a 6.793/203.19 pass.
Line had the edge in the semifinal, launching at the starting light with an .003 of a second margin over Stevens, and held it to the finish, winning with a 6.781/203.16 pass to Stevens' 6.793/203.83.
"We did pretty well," said the New Orleans native in his first season with Don Schumacher Racing. "We came from the bottom half of the field and went some rounds, and gained some points.
"Lane choice didn't seem to matter today, both lanes were pretty equal.
"I wish it had been me," he said of his teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.'s reaching the final round and losing a close one to Jason Line. "We came up a little bit short (in the semis). We needed a little bit more. I needed to be a little better on the tree, and maybe a little bit quicker on ET. But we had a good day.
"I'm happy with everything. In my race with Allen Johnson I thought I left on him a lot more than I did, but I was pulling on him a little bit at each increment, so I knew we had that one.
"But we had a rear end go away on us. It leaked fluid all the way down the track. It was kind of strange; it doesn't happen too often. I didn't even know anything was wrong until I got down to the end and I smelled the oil. It ended up just being the drain plug that came out of the rear end. We got it fixed, nothing major. It could have been a bad deal, but luckily we got through the run and got the win."
Against Bruce Allen: "He just disappeared really quickly. He told me he got a little loose out there.
"I just thought it was our day. Everything was kind of falling the right way and working in our favor, but we came up a little short. We move on to Englishtown, N.J. this weekend. That's one of my good-luck places, so hopefully we'll turn it around there."
Next up is the K&N Filters NHRA Supernationals in Englishtown, N.J. June 17-19.