Championship Drag Racing

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

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Driver Profile
Richie Stevens
Nitro Fish Pontiac GXP

Stevens Jr. reaches quarterfinals

Las Vegas, Sunday: Richie Stevens Jr. felt good about his chances in today's eliminations at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, following four consistent qualifying runs that put him in the No. 4 spot and gave him lane choice over Allen Johnson in the first round. His chances got even better after disposing of Johnson with a 6.823-second pass at 202.24 mph - a quality run that gave him lane choice again in the quarterfinal against Jim Yates.

Stevens' Vegas luck then ran out, as the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T shook hard in second gear, leading to a 6.912/201 lap and a loss to Yates' 6.869/201.25, despite Stevens' stellar reaction time of .022 (.000 is perfect) to Yates' .046.

"The car shook really bad in second gear," he said, "and I shifted a little late because of it. I was trying to settle it down, and in that situation it seems you either go too early or too late, so you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

"The track was pretty good today, so we didn't have to make too many adjustments to the car. We added a little bit of clutch, and that was it."

The first round win is encouraging to the New Orleans native. "We had a good car today. We ran great in the first round, and went out there for the second round and fell short. But, overall, we did good this weekend.

"We're trying to get rid of this losing on Sunday deal, and we got a round win today, which is a good step for us. I wish we could have gotten a couple more rounds, but maybe we have some momentum going into Bristol, where we did well last year."

Stevens fell to 12th in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings.

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