When rainfall washed out the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Sunday and Monday it was a gift for some drivers.
Now, drivers in pro classes will get two more chances to qualify for the race which is being held Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.
Mother Nature, however, didn’t do Pro Stock driver Richie Stevens any favors.
Because of Indy’s rescheduling, Stevens is scrambling to see if he can return to compete in the U.S. Nationals.
The obstacle for Stevens is he is racing in the American Drag Racing League at the Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway Friday and Saturday. Stevens is second in the ADRL Extreme Pro Stock point standings, just behind Cary Goforth.
“The Memphis race is a really important race and I can’t miss it,” Stevens said. “I have to go there first. That’s my first priority. Unfortunately, the NHRA postponed this race (the U.S. Nationals) and that’s the first time I have ever seen them postpone a race and come back the weekend after and even open up qualifying. That is kind of a crazy deal. It doesn’t work out to my advantage.”
Stevens drives for owner Mark Eckman in the ADRL, and is sponsored by CarSafe. At Indy, thanks in large part to Eckman, CarSafe, Valspar, and Pierson Construction, Stevens leased Allen Johnson’s Dodge to compete in a one-race deal.
Stevens was solid at Indy last weekend when it wasn’t raining as he qualified No. 7 at 6.666 seconds. Now, Stevens is faced with possibly being knocked out of Indy’s show, and more pressing is he might not even be able to come back and race.
“For them to re-open qualify that kind of screws me over a little bit because the weather (in Indy) is supposed to be a lot better on Saturday than it was last weekend, so that means the field is going to be quicker,” Stevens said. “That also means that 6.66 is probably not going to hold out. I’m trying to lay out all the options right now to see if I can pull some favors and we have some friends out there who have planes in the racing world.”
According to the NHRA Competition Policies & Procedures Manual 2012 Combined Edition, if the field was not set and additional qualifying runs are permitted prior to the start of eliminations at the rescheduled event, in this case the U.S. Nationals, drivers not returning for the conclusion of the event will be automatically withdrawn from the event and will be omitted from the qualifying sheet. If tech inspection was closed prior to the postponement, no further entries will be accepted.
Stevens has mapped out the perfect plan for this weekend, but he will need plenty of help for it to unfold.
“I would like to get to my ADRL race Friday and run all three rounds of qualifying and get that car qualified,” Stevens said. “Maybe, I could then hop on a plane late (Friday night) or first thing Saturday morning and come to Indy and make the first qualifying (session). Hopefully, I could put up a good number on the board to hold me in the field for Sunday. Then, I would hop on a plane and head back to Memphis and run eliminations Saturday afternoon in the ADRL car. Then haul a** back to Indy Saturday night.
“Hopefully somebody will be able to give me a favor on a plane. I do not have a plane and my family does not have a plane and I need to kind of rely on somebody out there that has some money and has a plane that can get me back and forth. This has turned into probably one of the most expensive one-race deals I have ever done in my life, but I want to give it 150 percent before I throw the towel in.”
Saturday’s first Pro Stock qualifying session at Indy is scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT. The ADRL eliminations begin at 3:30 p.m. CDT Saturday.
“It is a possibility that we could do both,” Stevens said. “It just sucks because I picked the wrong race for this one race (NHRA) deal. If I would have waited to do it until Charlotte, this might have never happened. I just figured Indy was the best venue to get CarSafe on the map. I just picked the worst race. (Hurricane) Isaac followed us up there last weekend (to Indy) and rained on us all weekend. Then, the re-opening of qualifying didn’t help and if this cool front would have held off one day I would not have to even worry about coming back into the qualifying because it would still be hot and the conditions would be equal to last weekend. If I can’t get the plane deal to work out, I will just stick with the ADRL.”
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