Brainerd Richie Stevens Preview

Kid sees opportunity to dazzle boss BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12) -- Twenty-year-old driving sensation Richie "The Kid" Stevens has already impressed his peers in the National Hot Rod Association with two national event wins, a top 10 finish in ...

Kid sees opportunity to dazzle boss

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12) -- Twenty-year-old driving sensation Richie "The Kid" Stevens has already impressed his peers in the National Hot Rod Association with two national event wins, a top 10 finish in the points standings and 33 elimination round wins in his short 18 month career as a professional driver.

At the 18th Annual Colonel Truck Accessories Nationals, which take place Aug. 19-22 at Brainerd International Raceway, Stevens will have a smaller, but infinitely more important group to win over -- his sponsors. The Valspar Corporation, the parent company of Stevens' primary sponsor Valspar Refinish, is headquartered in nearby Minneapolis and the company's employees are anxious to see their favorite driver first-hand.

"I'm really excited about this race because of the fact that all the Valspar people will be there," Stevens said. "I hope they're as jazzed up as I am. If things go the way we're expecting them to I should have a great shot at making them proud. I know that it'll be awesome to have a big cheering section.

"The Valspar Refinish car is running great. We reached the Final Four at the last race and I'd like to get at least that far this time around. We now have two good motors to choose from, which really helped us a lot in San Francisco.

"Brainerd and Indy mark the beginning of the home stretch for our season. That means every race becomes more and more important for the points chase. Last year, when I was a rookie, we finished ninth. Anything above that would be great. Right now we're in fifth place but we've been as high as third this year. I must admit, I sure like it at the top.

"We could make a big charge in these next two races and it all starts in Brainerd. Hopefully the boost I get from all the Valspar folks will help me win one of these events."

Stevens has recorded one national event win and 16 individual elimination round wins in 1999 and is currently on a streak of 13 straight races in which he has successfully qualified for Race Day action.

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Series NHRA