RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T: Richie Stevens Jr. experienced a good day and a bad day at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka during Sunday's Pro Stock elimination rounds.
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Richie Stevens Jr. experienced a good day and a bad day at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka during Sunday's Pro Stock elimination rounds. The good news is that he posted his quickest pass of the weekend in the opening round, driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T to a 6.724-second pass at 204.73 mph. The bad news is that he was three thousandths of a second short of a perfect reaction time in the wrong direction, as he red-lighted against Tom Hammonds, who experienced mechanical problems at the start and coasted to a 24.142/80.78.
Stevens will remain 10th in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point rankings.
"We made a really good run," said the New Orleans native who had qualified No. 8. "It was the best run we made all weekend, but in the first two qualifying runs it bogged real bad and it then spun real bad on the last hit yesterday in qualifying. And in this run today it hooked up and left.
"I might have been a smidge deep (in staging). I was ready. I didn't even know I red-lighted until half way down the track. You can't go up there and hold back. You have to go up there and push the tree just about every time. It bit me today. It was just three thousandths (of a second) from perfect, just the wrong way and on the red side.
"We're still in the top 10. We still have a little bit of a problem with the clutch in the car, so we're going to do some testing in St. Louis this week to see if we can't get it where it needs to be.
"That run right there was a really good run, but it's kind of hit and miss sometimes with the car, so we want to get it more consistent. It stinks to red-light, but that's the way it goes sometimes. If I'd have known Hammonds was going to go up there and break, yeah, I would have sat there and waited. But you can't predict the future and you can't go up there and lean back on the tree and hope to get a good one. So that's just the way it is. It's part of racing, everybody does it, and it was just my turn today."
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
No. 3 qualifier Allen Johnson advanced to the second round today at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka after dismissing Justin Humphreys in the opening stanza with a 6.726-second pass at 205.47 to Humphrey's 6.809/203.00.
But the driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, who did not have lane choice in the quarterfinal, wasn't able to follow-up with another victory against Jason Line, as Line crossed the finish stripe ahead of Johnson by .0354 of a second. Line's .040 reaction time (.000 is perfect) edged out Johnson's .062, and Line took the win with a 6.715/206.10 to Johnson's 6.728/205.63.
Johnson moved up one spot in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock rankings, and is now sixth, just one point out of fifth.
"We made a really great run over there in that right-hand lane and he was there for the taking," said Johnson. "I went in just a little deep when I went into stage. All it takes is a little thought crossing your mind to make you dead late and I was late.
"We're onto something," he said regarding the car's performance. We're making great power in the Mopar engine and we've got great parts from Mopar; we just have to get a break. The car's got to do its job, and the driver's got to do his job every time, or you're going to get beat. The competition is too tough.
"It's disappointing to me to let everybody down like that but, hey, we went to the second round."
-credit: team mopar/dsr