Sonoma: Richie Stevens Jr preview

STEVENS LOOKING FOR A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is looking for that little bit of luck that has been eluding him in his first Pro Stock season with Don Schumacher Racing. He'd like to find...

STEVENS LOOKING FOR A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK IN SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2005) - Richie Stevens Jr. is looking for that little bit of luck that has been eluding him in his first Pro Stock season with Don Schumacher Racing. He'd like to find that talisman here at Infineon Raceway this weekend at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals, the 15th event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the last of the three-race Western Swing.

New Orleans native Stevens, driving the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T, has had a diverse year since returning to the Pro Stock class after a two-year hiatus to take care of family business. He qualified No. 1 at the second event, in Phoenix, went to the final round in Bristol, where he was runner-up, and has qualified at every event and in the top half nine times.

The four-time Pro Stock event winner, however, has also had seven first-round losses, including the last three events. In the ultra-competitive class of nearly-equal cars, Stevens has had to deal with two first-round match-ups against the reigning champion Greg Anderson, one versus the six-time champ Warren Johnson, and two against his teammate Jeg Coughlin, one of which he won. His round win-loss record stands at 10-14 and he's currently eighth in the Pro Stock point standings after hanging on to sixth through four events.

Stevens believes he has some karma here at Infineon based on what he calls a gift he received here six years ago.

"We need some luck," he said. "I haven't been to Infineon in quite some time. I did have one round where I was pretty lucky at that track in the past. Maybe there will be some karma left over from that event and our luck will change for us.

"I had a huge gift given to me then. We were in the first or second round against Mike Thomas. That was just when the NHRA went to these manually-shifted transmissions. Before, they were air-shifted. You just hit the button and it shifted. On the manual shifter in my car it still had the button on it. Well, when I left the starting line, instead of pulling it, I pushed the button. The button wasn't activated, of course, it was just there. I pushed the button and it never went into gear and I had to shut off. But, it turned out that Mike had red-lighted, so luckily I got that win.

"We need a break this weekend to boost our motivation, to boost confidence. Everybody is kind of down. We haven't given up, but we're just wondering why, why, why on Sunday we just can't find that string of wins that we're looking for. Not necessarily to win the race, but just to go some rounds and have a good outing. And we just haven't had that in some time, and we desperately need it.

"I'd like to have it in Sonoma. I'd like to have it anywhere, if possible, but the sooner the better, and Sonoma is sooner. We ran real good in Seattle. We made some good runs and the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge is performing fine. We just have to find some luck."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Richie Stevens Jr. , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Don Schumacher