Richie Stevens Jr. will be competing in NHRA’s Mello Yello Series Pro Stock class at the U.S. Nationals Sept. 4-6 in Indianapolis.
Stevens confirmed to CompetitionPlus.com he will be driving the 2017 Camaro for Beaver Motorsports, owned by Mark Beaver. John Gaydosh Jr. drove the Beaver Motorsports Camaro at the Indy 1 race 11-12 and failed to qualify.
“Mark asked if I would be available to drive and I told I have a lot going on, but I told him to give me a heads up so I could be available,” Stevens said. “He called me (Aug. 17) and asked me if I could drive (at the U.S. Nationals) and I said, sure. He said he was looking to make a change and asked if I would come drive the car.
“He’s good friends with (Pro Stock world champion driver) Allen Johnson and Allen told him to give me a ring. I guess he’s also good friends with Larry Morgan and I believe Larry is coming to help us at Indy as well. So, here we go.”
Team sources confirmed that Morgan will indeed serve as crew chief for the weekend.
Stevens’ first pass in Beaver’s Camaro will be in Q1 at the U.S. Nationals. Stevens, a six-time NHRA national event Pro Stock winner, most recently competed in the class in 2019 filling in for team owner Alan Prusiensky the last three races of the season in Dallas, Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.
‘I just want to go out there (at the U.S. Nationals) and give (Beaver Motorsports) a fair shake,” Stevens said. “Getting behind the wheel of a car I have not driven before is always a challenge, especially without any test time. Q1 will be run one for me. I feel like I have made enough passes in them that once you start them up and go through your routine, they all kind of sound the same to me. The view is the same from the inside. I have faith in the car and with Larry (Morgan) coming to help I don’t have any doubts about the car. It should be a fun weekend.”
Beaver is making its Pro Stock team debut this season with the support of Strutmasters.com, Beaver Bonding, T Parke Services, MB Auto, RacerDirect.com, Norwood Towing, and a technical alliance of Kenny Delco Racing and engines from Frank Iaconio Racing Engines.
Beaver most recently campaigned trucks in NASCAR’s Truck Series. Beaver Motorsports is based out of Shelby, N.C.
“I think back, and it is ironic because this marks the 15th anniversary of (Hurricane) Katrina in a couple of weeks,” said Stevens, who lives in New Orleans. “I go back to Indy of 2005 when I barely made it there when I was driving for (Don) Schumacher Racing. I didn’t know if I was going to make it there on time and we went there and were runner-up to Greg Anderson. It was almost a Cinderella weekend 15 years ago. When I was there in 2005, I had nothing to lose. Racing was not even on my mind at that time I was worried about what was going on at home (in New Orleans), my family, houses and our business.
I’m going to Indy this time with the same mindset. I have nothing to lose. I’m going to go out there and have a good time and it would be great to have a Cinderella weekend again and take it one step further.”
Richie works for his family’s business – Stevens Used Auto Parts in New Orleans.
“I made a call to Tim Kulungian, Jerry Savoie’s crew chief (Aug. 21),” Stevens said. “He has my gear bag in his trailer from Pomona last year. He has my helmet, firesuit, everything and he’s going to bring it to Indy. He took a picture of my gear bag and said it is loaded up and ready to go. I didn’t want to show up at Indy and not have a firesuit or helmet.”
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