STEVENS ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND IN PHOENIX, LOSES TO TEAMMATE COUGHLIN CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 27, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. moved easily into the second round of the Pro Stock class at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals today, defeating...
STEVENS ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND IN PHOENIX, LOSES TO TEAMMATE COUGHLIN
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 27, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. moved easily into the second round of the Pro Stock class at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals today, defeating rookie Erica Enders with a 6.735/205.35 to Enders' 6.789/203.40 in the opening stanza.
He was then paired in the second round with his teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr., driving the Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge Stratus, partner to Stevens' Team Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge and tuned also by the legendary Bob Glidden. Stevens had lane choice and selected the left lane, which had been the more desirable. But the hot Arizona sun had taken its toll and Stevens' Dodge suffered tire spin against Coughlin's clean run, resulting in a losing 6.802/204.26 pass to Coughlin's winning 6.781/203.65.
"That lane didn't hold up as well as we thought it would," said Stevens, "and it just blew the tires off down there when I let the clutch out. It never really connected to the surface. It was loose pretty much the whole way down. We never got a good baseline start, so it was just junk right from the hit.
"We gave it our best. We made it to the second round. It's better than being a first-round loser.
"Running against Jeg was not really a problem for me," he remarked. "I've run Jeg several times in the past; we're just good friends. Once you get that first round out of the way, the pressure goes away, in my personal opinion. We just went up there and had fun. He got me this time and I'll get him next time."
Coughlin continued to the semifinal round, but lost to Allan Johnson, the eventual event winner.
In NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings, Stevens ends up tied with Larry Morgan in eighth place with 90 points.
Next up is the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 18-20.