STEVENS ONCE AGAIN A SPOILER Although he did not make the Countdown to One playoffs, Richie Stevens Jr. has become quite proficient in his role as a spoiler. He was instrumental in his teammate Allen Johnson's earning a spot in the Countdown to...
STEVENS ONCE AGAIN A SPOILER
Although he did not make the Countdown to One playoffs, Richie Stevens Jr. has become quite proficient in his role as a spoiler. He was instrumental in his teammate Allen Johnson's earning a spot in the Countdown to One, and today he was "The Determinator" when his losing quarterfinal pass to Jeg Coughlin assured Coughlin the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock championship, his first since 2002.
The New Orleans native and driver of the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing first eliminated Ron Krisher with a .018 reaction time and a 6.671-second pass at 206.80 mph.
In the quarterfinal, Coughlin posted a .015 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Stevens' .080, grabbing the victory with a 6.646/207.88 to Stevens' losing 6.672/206.80.
Stevens ends up No. 9 in the final NHRA Pro Stock point standings.
"We started out good, we had a good car, and lost lane choice (for the second round), which is definitely a plus here," said Stevens. "The right lane wasn't near as good as the left lane. We went up there and just tried to play the spoiler role and tried to go rounds and, yeah, I was a little late on the tree (against Coughlin), but we couldn't have won that one with a perfect light. He laid down a hell of a run. We made a good run for the right lane.
"I was just a little nervous up there in the second round. It was a bit overcast, I didn't want to go red and hand it to him. I was trying to go in as shallow as possible and be on time. But I was a little off. Like I said, he drilled the tree and he won it. He deserves it. So congratulations to him and his team and we'll try for ours next year.
"We'll end the season in ninth, and I'll keep my number from last year and we'll come back here in a couple of months and start the whole deal over and hopefully we'll have a better season next year."
On his 2007 season: "If we'd run the whole season like we ran the last three or four races it probably would have turned out a lot better for us," said Stevens. "When the car was on I was off, and when I was on the car was off, but we never really connected until the last couple of races. We had a pretty good package going into Dallas and so forth. We just have to get a couple of things together. The power is there and I think we've got the cars worked out. Rick Jones gave us a great car. We just have to get our deal together. I have to get my head back and I feel like I did all right."
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Allen Johnson drove the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T into the quarterfinal round today of the Auto Club NHRA Finals after defeating Max Naylor in the opening stanza. He earned fourth place in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock championship.
In the quarterfinal, A.J. nailed the Christmas Tree with an outstanding .010 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Humphreys' also remarkable .017, but it was Humphreys first at the finish stripe, claiming the victory with a 6.647-second pass at 207.50 mph to A.J.'s 6.676/207.02. Margin of victory: seven feet or .0221 of a second.
"I guess the banner on the awning would be 'a great year.' We did have a great year," said Johnson, a one-time winner this season in three final rounds. "A lot of great things happened. Some ups and downs, but it's the best we've ever finished in 11 years, and I feel like we're in a position now to take that and maybe build on it, and next year we'll be right there again.
"We made a really good run first round. The driver short-shifted first gear and cost us lane choice, which probably cost us second round. Lane choice is key.
"We're a veteran team and everybody's just jelling. The engine department is jelling, we're testing a lot because we got some funds to go out and test with. That's what it takes, just non-stop work, and that's what everybody's been doing. It worked. We'll take it and take a couple of weeks off and start at it again."