TOUGH START TO NEW SEASON, STEVENS LOSES IN FIRST ROUND IN POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2006) - In the last two weeks, during testing and including this weekend's season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, Richie Stevens Jr. has...
TOUGH START TO NEW SEASON, STEVENS LOSES IN FIRST ROUND IN POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2006) - In the last two weeks, during testing and including this weekend's season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, Richie Stevens Jr. has demonstrated that the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T is a strong contender for the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock championship. And, despite his first-round loss today on a holeshot advantage to Mark Pawuk, the team's solid performance is evident.
The New Orleans native entered today's final eliminations from the No. 7 qualifying position, but could not use lane choice to his advantage in the opening round. His quicker elapsed time of 6.740-seconds at 205.51 mph was upset when Mark Pawuk took the win light on a holeshot with a slower 6.756/205.29 pass. Stevens' .062 reaction time was no match for Pawuk's .044.
While disappointed, Stevens is keeping the loss in perspective: "You hate to start a year like that, and I feel terrible about it, but a holeshot loss never feels good. That is what I keep telling myself. It's not the end of the world, but we sure would have liked to have gone some rounds today.
"We should have gone some rounds today; we had the car, lane choice, everything. I know Bob (Glidden) and Don (Schumacher) probably aren't real happy, but we'll make it up. I know this Mopar/Valspar team is going to do some great things this year."
Stevens looks to the next event in Phoenix for a fresh start, "We'll just scratch this one off and head into Phoenix with the same attitude we came into here with, and that's to win races."
He stands ninth in the Pro Stock standings, as the series heads to the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals in Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 24-26.