RICHIE STEVENS HANGS ON TO NO. 1 IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. held on to the No. 1 spot through two more qualifying rounds, after posting his career-best Pro Stock elapsed time and speed last night of 6.735 ...
RICHIE STEVENS HANGS ON TO NO. 1 IN PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. held on to the No. 1 spot through two more qualifying rounds, after posting his career-best Pro Stock elapsed time and speed last night of 6.735 seconds at 205.35 mph, setting track records in the process.
Today's two qualifying attempts in the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus produced a 6.765/205.01 and a final 6.780/204.51 in the heat of the day.
Stevens now has two Pro Stock No. 1 qualifiers on his record, his first coming in Topeka in 1999. This is also his first pole position in two races since joining Don Schumacher Racing for the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
He faces a new face in Pro Stock in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, the No. 16 qualifier Erica Enders. Both Stevens and Enders are Junior Dragster graduates.
"I think that's good," said Stevens. "I'm glad she got in the field. It will be cool.
"I'm just glad to be here on Sunday, I don't care who I have to race. To end up No. 1 and to do it for Don Schumacher and Mopar feels good. I think everybody is excited. Bob (Glidden, crew chief) probably can't even talk right now because he was out of words last night when we ran what we did. But to make it official, I'm sure he's thrilled.
"No, I didn't have any doubt that we would run good." he said when asked if he was surprised that it happened so early in the season. "I don't want to put a negative on it and say that we didn't think we would qualify No. 1, but to do it as quickly as we have is definitely a surprise.
"Bob said we'd come out the first couple of races and just try to qualify and get our feet wet and get used to the new team and the new parts and everything, but this is definitely a big bonus, and hopefully we can carry it all the way to the finals.
"The two runs today could have been better. We messed up on the first one, we spun the tires tremendously off the starting line. There's a little hill out there about half track in the right lane and in the last run I must have hit it right on the shift point. It felt like the car left the ground for just a split second, just enough to lose a little momentum. I'm sure that hurt us a little bit, but we'll be right back in it for tomorrow. We'll have lane choice and hopefully we'll get over on the left side, which seems to be the preferred lane, and turn on the big W."
Actually, Bob Glidden was not at a loss for words, and he was definitely beaming. "We're certainly happy," he smiled. "All these guys here and the guys in the shop have worked so hard the last three and a half months. Coming from not even having a bolt for one of these things to where we are now and to come out and qualify No. 1 is just tremendous.
"I really didn't think it would happen this soon. And it would not have happened this week. We just happened to hit the nail on the head last night and Richie did a perfect job of driving the car. Everything was perfect."