Stevens eyes chance for big move BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) -- The final day of professional qualifying for the Colonel Truck Accessories Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway finished with Pro Stock upstart Richie "The Kid" ...
Stevens eyes chance for big move
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) -- The final day of professional qualifying for the Colonel Truck Accessories Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway finished with Pro Stock upstart Richie "The Kid" Stevens contemplating his chance to make a big move up the championship points standings when Sunday's Race Day action begins.
Stevens, the pilot of the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, entered this race in fifth place in the standings. Just by qualifying for the event Stevens has already gained ground on third place points earner Jim Yates, who suffered his first DNQ (did-not-qualify) of the year. Once tomorrow's action starts, Stevens will have an immediate chance to dismiss his closest rival Jeg Coughlin, who is currently in fourth place in the standings. The two men open the sudden-death elimination rounds against one another.
"Boy, if I can take Jeggy out, I'll be sailing up the points standings," Stevens said. "The entire scenario has set up perfect for us. Yates is already out and I have the chance to put Jeg on the trailer in the first round. This could be a big race for us.
"I couldn't think of a better time to shine. All the Valspar people are up here from their main office in Minneapolis and I have a nice chance at showing them what winning is all about."
Coughlin will have the advantage of lane choice over Stevens due to his better elapsed time in qualifying. Coughlin finished in third place with a pass of 7.004 seconds at 196.36 mph while Stevens took the No. 14 spot with a 7.045-second lap at 194.66 mph.
"I need to be sharp and run a perfect lap to beat him," Stevens said. "But he has struggled at times this weekend so I do have a chance at beating him. I have to make sure I don't do anything stupid and give him a freebie. It should be a great race."
Earlier in the day the 20-year-old Stevens followed the same pattern as the rest of the Pro Stock class by posting a slightly off-pace elapsed time on a very hot and slippery track. In the end his 7.084-second lap at 193.82 mph amounted to little more than a test pass as the Valspar crew gained more information on the track.
"That wasn't a bad run," Stevens said. "It actually could have been a tad better but the conditions weren't going to give us anything huge as far as times and speeds go. The surface was definitely slick and it felt like my tires were spinning a lot of the way down the track. That run looked exactly like everybody else's run."
Tomorrow's elimination rounds will be shown on Fox Sports from 7-9 p.m. CST.