Richie Stevens Joins Don Schumacher Racing and Team Mopar INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 14, 2005) - Don Schumacher announced today the addition of Richie Stevens Jr. to his factory-backed Mopar Pro Stock team for the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Richie Stevens Joins Don Schumacher Racing and Team Mopar
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 14, 2005) - Don Schumacher announced today the addition of Richie Stevens Jr. to his factory-backed Mopar Pro Stock team for the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Stevens joins Jeg Coughlin Jr. as the second Pro Stock driver for Don Schumacher Racing in the Team Mopar HEMI-powered Pro Stock Dodge Stratus, tuned by Bob Glidden.
The legendary 10-time Pro Stock champion Glidden will act as crew chief on both the Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge Stratus and the Team Mopar Dodge driven by Stevens.
"I am proud to have Richie join our Pro Stock team," said Schumacher, owner of the largest team in NHRA pro competition, which now numbers a total of eight teams in all four pro categories. "We are committed to winning a Pro Stock championship for Team Mopar and with the combination of Richie's youth and talent along with Bob Glidden's experience and proven track record, I feel we're already one step ahead of our competition in making that a reality.
"Having two Pro Stock teams for Glidden to share data with should also add to our potential for success," he added.
Stevens, 26, of New Orleans, competed in Pro Stock from 1998 through 2002, collecting four event victories in seven final rounds. He cut short his racing career in 2002 to take over the family business, Stevens Collision Center, when his father Richie Stevens Sr. underwent open-heart surgery.
He drove in a handful of races in 2003 while his dad recuperated, then joined Roy Hill in the Pro Modified category in 2004, racing to a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals, his best result in that class.
"This is something I've been waiting for for a long time," said Stevens. "I've been out of full-time racing since 2002 and I've been trying to get back into Pro Stock, but it's been hard. I had sent a resume to Don and hoped my name would be picked and luckily it was and here we are now.
"Don is interested in winning a championship, and that's all I have ever wanted to do, so that's two positives going in the right direction," he said. "I'm also impressed with the tremendous strides that Mopar has made in the last couple of years. They proved they had the power last year and I'm sure Glidden will improve on that development this year."
"Mopar is pleased to see Richie Stevens Jr. become a part of our authentic motorsports efforts," said Kevin Miller, Senior Manager, Brand Marketing and Performance Mopar Parts. "Our relationship with Don Schumacher Racing is one that we're very proud of, as we are of the results we have garnered because of this relationship. We at Mopar are committed to success and to begin another chapter in our motorsports program is extremely exciting."
Stevens brings with him as an associate sponsor on the team, Valspar Corporation, whose automotive refinish division in Grand Prairie, Texas, has supported Stevens throughout most of his driving career. Stevens Collision Center is a "model" shop for Valspar and brings in Valspar customers from around the world to view the company's multiple line of paint products.
"Valspar has been a supporter of the NHRA and Richie Stevens Jr. and Sr. for many years," said George Krul, general manager of that division. "Richie and his father are a part of the Valspar family and we believe that Richie presents an image that reflects our basic fundamentals, which are honesty and integrity.
"We're also excited about our new partnership with Don Schumacher Racing and we believe that this team, along with Mopar, brings strength and commitment to an exciting sport."
Valspar joins U.S. Army, Matco Tools, Gates Belts and Hoses, Oakley, Mopar, Dodge, Jeg's Mail Order and Torco Racing Fuels as a Don Schumacher Racing associate sponsor.
Glidden admittedly will have his hands full, but he's excited to begin the 2005 season. "I think Richie is capable of doing a very good job for us. I'm extremely happy he's on board," said Glidden. "I'd love to go out and win the first race, but our goal is to make continuous progress in the early part of the season to become competitive enough to go out and win races. We'll have two very good cars, two very good drivers, but it's also a very big challenge, probably the biggest I've faced in my career."
Stevens, along with Coughlin, will test in Bradenton, Fla., on January 17-19, before the 2005 NHRA season begins at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway Feb. 10-13.