Madison: Richie Stevens Jr preview

STEVENS HIGH ON NIGHT RACING IN ST. LOUIS MADISON, Ill. (June 23, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is high on racing at night this weekend at Gateway International Raceway. He feels the excitement of competing under the lights pumps up the adrenaline,...

STEVENS HIGH ON NIGHT RACING IN ST. LOUIS

MADISON, Ill. (June 23, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is high on racing at night this weekend at Gateway International Raceway. He feels the excitement of competing under the lights pumps up the adrenaline, both in the drivers and in the fans.

Driving the Bob Glidden-tuned Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock in his first season for Don Schumacher Racing may be all he needs to elevate his heart rate. The New Orleans native has come oh-so-close to winning on three occasions this season but has yet to see victory lane.

He landed on the pole in Phoenix, then lost in the second round. He went to the final round with lane choice all the way in Bristol, but settled for a runner-up finish to Warren Johnson. Last week in Englishtown, N.J., where he had claimed two of his four career victories, driver error put him out of the running, after posting his career quickest ET of 6.669 seconds.

Nevertheless, he's hanging tough in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing series Pro Stock point standings. He's in sixth, just 84 points out of a top-five placement.

"We're doing pretty good in points in the toughest class in NHRA competition," said Stevens. "The Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge is running real decent right now, and hopefully we'll get another four qualifying rounds in like we did in Englishtown and I can get past my mishap there and do well here on Sunday.

"Bob has the clutch figured out and we have good horsepower right now. We should be able to go some rounds on Sunday.

"I'm always excited about night racing. I get pumped up about it and I think the fans do too. It's an added bonus. I like racing at night. It's always been a favorite of mine.

"This is the one and only 'planned' night race we run in NHRA and I hope it will be a good one."

SCHEDULE:
On Friday, June 24, professional qualifying sessions are at 5 and 8 p.m. On Saturday, June 25, pro qualifying continues at 5 and 8 p.m. On Sunday, June 26, final pro eliminations begin at 4:30 p.m.

TELEVISION:
On Saturday, June 25, ESPN2 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at midnight (ET). On Sunday, June 26, ESPN2 will televise three hours of elimination highlights beginning at 9 p.m. (ET).

RICHIE STEVENS JR. QUICK FACTS:
* Sixth in 2005 Pro Stock points after 11 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: 6.669 ET (Englishtown 2005) and 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

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Warren Johnson , Bob Glidden , Don Schumacher