Stevens Jr. Grabs Provisional Pole in Chicago with Second Quickest Pro Stock Run in NHRA History

Richie Stevens Jr. drove the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T to the provisional Pro Stock pole today for the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, posting the second quickest elapsed time in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series history.

Stevens' 6.635-second pass at 207.40 mph (both his career-bests) set an elapsed-time track record and is only three-thousandths of a second short of eclipsing the national record (6.633). This pass can serve as a back-up for a national record should Stevens run quicker in tomorrow's two remaining qualifying rounds.

"When we got here today, I was like, Man it's gonna be quick, it's gonna be real quick," said the 27-year-old New Orleans native. "David (Nickens, crew chief) did a lot of changes (to the engines) in the past two weeks since we left Topeka and found some things he thought would help it, and it obviously did.

"Earlier today we had one of the best 60-ft. times out there (.982, third best of the first session)." His 60-ft. time in this last round was even quicker, at .976 (second quickest).

"I was kind of worried about the right lane, then I watched [Allen Johnson] go down it (to a 6.659), so I knew I had to be on my job up there. I staged it as shallow as possible and we got it. We executed the run perfectly. I haven't seen the run on the computer yet, but it felt good from A-to-B. I don't think there were too many flaws in it."

On crew chief David Nickens: "I'm glad that he got it, and I'm glad that I was able to do it for him. It shows that he's still got what he had. It's Bob Glidden's design, but David's taken it a step further and putting his own parts into it. I'm more happy for him than for anyone else. The team needed it, we needed something to boost our morale."

On Saturday's King Demon Crown bonus event: "I'm excited, and I'm glad that we came out here and showed that we can do it. It feels really good going into the King Demon Crown shootout tomorrow with a car that is capable of winning."

On whether this is the best car he has ever driven: "I think it is. It's a really forgiving car, and it handles excellent. Jerry Haas built an excellent car for me. We've had the car since Bristol 2005, and ever since we got it we really didn't have to work with it. We went to the finals that race and it was that car's first race out. It's been a great performing car since day one. They have new cars lined up for next year, but I don't know if I want to give it up, especially not after today.

"It feels good. I know Mopar is happy with it. It's the quickest a Mopar car has ever run, so that's good."

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