STEVENS EARNS NO. 7 QUALIFYING SPOT IN SEASON OPENER AT POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2006) - Riding four solid qualifying runs, Richie Stevens Jr. drove the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T to the top half of the NHRA...
STEVENS EARNS NO. 7 QUALIFYING SPOT IN SEASON OPENER AT POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2006) - Riding four solid qualifying runs, Richie Stevens Jr. drove the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T to the top half of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock field today at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, by qualifying No. 7.
Stevens now looks to take advantage of first-round lane choice after posting a 6.692-second pass at 206.20 mph on Friday to earn that spot, followed by a 6.695/206.76, and a second-quickest (to only reigning Pro Stock champion and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson) of the round 6.699/206.01 in the final session. His only non-6.69-second pass came in the initial round, a 6.756/204.88
Stevens feels he and his team are in a comfortable position heading into Sunday's final eliminations, where he'll face Mark Pawuk in the first round: "We ran three 6.69s in a row. That's got to show for something. We came out and established ourselves and now we have lane choice, which is always important in the first round.
"Sure, I wish we could have qualified a little higher, but you can't want too much too soon. We'll be able to run in the left lane tomorrow, and hopefully hold it there for the day. The left lane has been the good lane all week.
"Most importantly, I'm feeling really good in the car, more comfortable than last year, right out of the box. The Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge is running so strong and has the horsepower we need to win races. Everyone here is pretty happy with the performance so far. Bob (Glidden) is happy, Don (Schumacher) is happy, Mopar, Valspar, everyone.
"Going rounds is the most important thing right now. And, when you start going rounds anything can happen. I'd love to be down in the winner's circle tomorrow celebrating with everyone at Don Schumacher Racing. We'll see, Hopefully it will be my day."