RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
Driving the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Richie Stevens Jr. qualified No. 2 today, with an elapsed time of 6.640seconds at 207.18 mph, recorded in the third of four qualifying sessions. His other laps included a 6.691/206.29, 6.658/207.53 and a 6.685/207.50.
This is Stevens' highest qualifying position in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class since he earned No. 1 in Joliet, Ill., last summer. It was a bittersweet day for the New Orleans native, as his J&J Racing teammate Allen Johnson failed to qualify, breaking his string of having qualified in 42 straight events.
At the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago, the roles were almost reversed, as Stevens barely made the field, in No. 16, and Johnson qualified No. 2.
"Last race Allen ran well," said Stevens. "He qualified second, and this weekend I'm second and he's out. Luckily, I was in. It's almost like we swapped doors on the car and I got the better car this weekend. He struggled and really didn't make a good run any of the runs. He got down the first run; that was really kind of lucky because it shook and spun all the way down.
"We made four good runs. The last one was a little violent, but luckily we made ours when it counted, this morning, got in, and got in solid.
"Tomorrow is another day. We start out in the second spot, which is the best we've qualified in quite a while, from last year. We have V. Gaines first round. We'll do our best and hopefully we'll go some rounds. We got a good car, it's been running good and it's been consistent. We got good power. If I can go out there and just do my job we should go a couple of rounds."