STEVENS OUSTED BY PRO STOCK CHAMP IN FIRST ROUND AT POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. had a few roadblocks in his way as he competed in his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock event for Don Schumacher Racing...
STEVENS OUSTED BY PRO STOCK CHAMP IN FIRST ROUND AT POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. had a few roadblocks in his way as he competed in his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock event for Don Schumacher Racing in the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals.
He overcame not qualifying in the first round because of an engine problem and a rainout of the second round by finally taking the No. 10 spot after only three sessions. There was just one remaining stumbling block. He would have to face the reigning two-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson in Stevens' first Pro Stock appearance since 2003.
Lacking lane choice, Stevens was relegated to the less-favorable right lane for the first round. He launched with a more-than-respectable .040 reaction time, but Anderson bettered it with a .030 and led all the way to the finish line to claim the victory with a 6.710-second ET at 204.73 mph to Stevens' losing 6.782/205.51.
"It's one of the toughest classes out here," said Stevens. "And I got a great welcome-back present by having Greg Anderson first round," he laughed. "We tried and we tried and gave it our best, and went out there and shook the tires from the initial hit. It just didn't make a good run. Greg made a pretty good run and it was kind of hard to beat him today. But, we'll get another shot in Phoenix.
"The right lane was a little worse than the left lane," he explained. "The Top Fuel and Funny Cars preferred the right lane, but it was kind of different in Pro Stock. I don't know why, but it was. The right lane wasn't as good as the left so we didn't have lane choice, same for (my teammate) Jeg (Coughlin, who also lost in the first round). We got stuck in that bad lane. I think that's a lot of the problem; not all of it, but a lot of it."
Next up is the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., on Feb. 25-27.