Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Richie Stevens
Nitro Fish Pontiac GXP

Qualifying consistency is key for Stevens Jr. in Vegas

Las Vegas, prerace: Richie Stevens Jr. wants to get back to the basics this weekend at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He believes that qualifying with four consistent runs in the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T is a great way to start an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock weekend.

The focus thus far in the 2006 season for Stevens has been round wins on Sunday, but he has been around the highly-competitive class long enough to know consistency is the key to getting those wins. "A lot of the successful teams in this class have really consistent race cars week-in and week-out," he said. "I know that is what Bob (Glidden, crew chief) really wants to focus on to get us back on track (following a string of early-round losses). We had that last year, so I know we can get the car going. We have the horsepower, a great crew, and a lot going for us. For whatever reason we haven't gotten the win light on Sundays as much as we would want.

"Everyone has their own game plan out here; set-ups, teamwork, intimidation, and horsepower. We have a lot of that, and we have our own little ways too. We'll just tighten things up a bit and roll up our sleeves. It's like I told the crew guys last Sunday (following a hole-shot loss in the first round, 'We're all in this together, don't hang your heads,'" he said.

"It's still early in the season and I know we have a championship-contending car. We tested so well in the off-season, and Mopar has given us a ton of horsepower to work with. Now we just have to put it all together."

Stevens has qualified in the top half of the 16-car field in all but one race (Houston) this season, and currently sits No. 11 in the point standings with 153 points, only 17 from cracking the top 10. "There's a long way to go. We can get the car into the top 10, then the top five, and so on. A little bit at a time.

"Maybe Las Vegas will be where we turn it around. I'm always talking about luck, and there's nowhere better than Las Vegas to have good luck. I'll take it wherever I can get it, and, like Bob says, sometimes you have to make good luck yourself."

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