STEVENS TAKES NO. 3 IN RICHMOND QUALIFYING Richie Stevens Jr. drove the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T into a solid No. 3 spot in qualifying for the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. With only three...
STEVENS TAKES NO. 3 IN RICHMOND QUALIFYING
Richie Stevens Jr. drove the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T into a solid No. 3 spot in qualifying for the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
With only three qualifying sessions held because of rain on Friday, Stevens made a strong statement in the one round on Friday evening, by qualifying third with a 6.673-second pass at 206.54 mph. In today's early round he improved further by posting a 6.646/207.15, which placed him No. 1 until he was outdone by polesitter Jeg Coughlin and Dave Connolly.
Stevens held onto third through the next round, where he recorded another stout pass, of 6.662/206.23.
"We did good," he said. "We came within a thousandth (of a second) of the top spot (6.645/207.27). I missed it by a little bit, but No. 3 isn't bad; it's in the top half. But lane choice doesn't seem to be that important out there; both lanes appear to be pretty equal.
"Both Team Mopar cars are running good this weekend. We have (Kenny) Koretsky first round tomorrow. I haven't raced him in God knows how long; it's going to be interesting. Jim Yates not qualifying helps us a little bit in the points." Stevens is out of the running for the Countdown to One and is aiming for a top-10 season finish.
His teammate Allen Johnson is third in the Countdown to Four points. This weekend will determine the final four who will compete in the Countdown to One for the Pro Stock championship.
"I'm pretty much out here to help Allen," Stevens said. "We hopefully can get him in the Countdown to One and get him on the road. But I'd also like to get a win. In '99 we both went into the finals here and he got the best of me. If we can do that tomorrow, that would be great."
A.J. COLLECTS NO. 6 IN RICHMOND QUALIFYING
Allen Johnson collected the No. 6 spot in Pro Stock qualifying for the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals, establishing a 6.659-second elapsed time at 206.48 mph in the final qualifying session.
His other tries included a 6.677/206.29 and a 6.660/206.73 in only three qualifying sessions held because of rain.
Johnson is third in the Countdown to Four playoffs standings and this weekend's event will determine the top four who will vie for the championship in the Countdown to One in the final two events of the season. In front of him in the rankings are Dave Connolly and Greg Anderson. Behind him are Jeg Coughlin and Jason Line.
"Before that run we had the ladder and it was absolutely perfect," said A.J. "We had a decent draw and Jeggie and Jason were going to have to run each other second round. Now it got all screwed up and we got a hard first draw (Kurt Johnson) and they don't have to run each other second round.
"Now we just have to go up there and do our job and let it settle where it does.
"That last run, of course, was our best run. If we had done that last night that would have probably been second or third or fourth, somewhere in there. We're sixth, we still have lane choice, and we've got a decent draw second round, if we happen to win, because we run Richie (if he wins first round). So, we'll pull a spark plug wire off his car second round and make sure we go to the semis," he laughed.
"We're happy. Done what we meant to do, now it's in our hands. We're just going to do our job."