O`Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals
Stevens' quick reaction time doesn't get him first-round win
Topeka, Sunday: Richie Stevens Jr., well-known for his stellar reaction times, failed to turn his .032 of a second (.000 is perfect) launch into a win today in first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Stevens, driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, squared-off against Rickie Smith in the opener, taking off first to Smith's .050 reaction time, but it wasn't enough to hold off a hard-charging opponent, who took the win light with a 6.844-second elapsed time at 201.79 mph to Stevens' 6.884/200.11. Margin of victory: .0224 of a second.
"We tried," said Stevens, who qualified No. 11 and did not have lane choice. "The lanes seemed to be pretty equal though. Lane choice really didn't matter too much. If I had the choice, of course, I would have taken the right lane, but I do think they're pretty equal.
"We spun the tires real bad down low, but I had a good light. I probably should have had a little better light. The tree's been difficult all weekend; nobody was cutting good lights up there all weekend. I had a .32, he had a .50. I wish he'd been a little later; maybe we could've gotten the win.
"We need to find something. I feel like we're just missing something somewhere (in the setup). We probably need a little more power and we need to make more consistent runs. We're gradually, slowly making progress on it. Like I said before, it's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take time.
"You get impatient when you don't get round wins. I'm sure Don's (Schumacher, team owner) getting impatient with it. We all are. We could definitely use a couple of round wins and event wins to kind of boost us up a little bit.
"We haven't made it past the second round all year," added Stevens. "This is such a competitive class. It's frustrating. You try and try and try and it's like we're missing a piece of the puzzle and we don't know what it is. We have to find it and quick."
Stevens is 14th in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings.
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