RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Richie Stevens Jr. benefited from Greg Stanfield's red light in the opening round of Pro Stock eliminations at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals today, but he ...
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Richie Stevens Jr. benefited from Greg Stanfield's red light in the opening round of Pro Stock eliminations at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals today, but he still hauled the mail to the finish line to produce a 6.754-second pass at 203.22 mph and earn lane choice for the second round against three-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson.
Anderson, in the less desirable right lane and with a driver famous for his outstanding reaction times beside him, knew he had to take a chance and just missed red-lighting by posting a .003 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Stevens' solid .014. It certainly worked out for Anderson, as he won the round on a holeshot advantage with a slower 6.761/204.76 mph to Stevens' quicker yet losing 6.760/203.03.
"I think we're looking real good," said Stevens following a strong showing for both Team Mopar cars this weekend and losing the quarterfinal by just three feet. "I think power-wise we're right there where we need to be. Just like money, you never have enough. If Allen and I just do our jobs on Sunday it should go pretty smooth for the rest of the season.
"We were looking good today, and Greg pulled out a .003 light. We didn't expect him to do that, but, hey, if it's your day, it's your day. It's a little hard to swallow. You feel like you've done everything you could do, but it still wasn't enough. But, everybody did their job today. I did my job, Mark (Ingersoll, crew chief) did his job setting the car up, and the guys did well. Greg just did a little better than us.
"I can't hang my head down low. If I had been .040 or something like that on the tree, yeah, I'd be a little more mad. But I was right there with him. Out here it's by thousandths (of a second) that you win or lose by and you have to go for everything you can get on the tree."
Stevens is 11th in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock standings, with 206 points.
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Allen Johnson made it to the semifinals today at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But a red light ended his day in his match-up over Jeg Coughlin. Coughlin claimed the win with a 6.740-second elapsed time at 203.95 mph.
En route to the semifinals, Johnson first defeated Mike Edwards with a 6.770/203.25 (.018 reaction time), then V Gaines with a 6.758/203.22 (.013 R/T).
"We're happy," said the driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T who, with engine builder and dad Roy Johnson, have witnessed marked improvement in the two Team Mopar Dodges. "Our plan starting a couple of races ago was to qualify in the top eight, be more consistent, and get down the track every run. We accomplished that.
"I think Richie would have been in the semis if Greg hadn't gotten a little lucky on the tree. But, hey, everybody is out here battling, driving well. Pro Stock is heating up.
"I've been pushing the tree. I think my worst light in the last three races has been like a .020. I mean, you're pushing it and you're pushing it. And it's going to happen when you do that. It's going to go red now and then or you ain't doing your job."
Next up for the Team Mopar duo is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., April 27-29.