STEVENS PARLAYS A PERFECT REACTION TIME TO FIRST-ROUND WIN IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) - Richie Stevens Jr. aced the starting lights in today's opening round of Pro Stock eliminations for the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird...
STEVENS PARLAYS A PERFECT REACTION TIME TO FIRST-ROUND WIN IN PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) - Richie Stevens Jr. aced the starting lights in today's opening round of Pro Stock eliminations for the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, posting a perfect .000 reaction time to win over V Gaines.
Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Stevens crossed the finish line in 6.671 seconds at 206.99 mph over Gaines' 6.683/207.08. In the second round, however, he suffered tire shake at the hit of the throttle, then coasted to a losing 13.886/61.51 to Kurt Johnson's winning 6.688/206.99
"We got by the first round," he said. "We actually got kind of lucky because the car rolled the beams a little bit first round. We got lucky with a win light there. Came back up for the second round, had lane choice against Kurt. We should've been fine, we should've just gone down and run a good number. We took a little bit out of the clutch department because the track got a little worse. It almost looked like we added clutch to it. It just blew the tires off and we can't really figure out why.
"We'll study it and hopefully we can figure it out. It's kind of the same thing Allen's (Johnson) car was doing all through qualifying," he added, referring to his J&J Racing teammate's failure to qualify for this race because of tire-shake issues, "so it's kind of weird that it would do so well the first round and then we come back and not change a thing and then it does what it did in the second round.
"It's a head-scratcher and it's driving Mark (Ingersoll, crew chief) crazy, not just driving us crazy. He'll get it figured out, we'll do some testing between here and Gainesville, and hopefully we'll find out what's wrong."
Roy Johnson, father of Allen Johnson and team engine builder was taken to the hospital Saturday night for emergency surgery following a heart attack. He's recuperating in a local hospital. "We left the hospital last night," said Stevens, "and he said, 'Go four rounds, and do the best you can.' We did the best we can and we just got a gremlin in there somewhere that didn't want us to go to the next round."