Bristol: Secured spot saves day for Stevens

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 7) – The special format of this weekend’s Winston “No Bull” Showdown at Bristol Dragway, which assures 10 pre-qualified drivers a spot in Sunday’s elimination action, saved the day for Pro Stock driver Richie “The...

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 7) – The special format of this weekend’s Winston “No Bull” Showdown at Bristol Dragway, which assures 10 pre-qualified drivers a spot in Sunday’s elimination action, saved the day for Pro Stock driver Richie “The Kid” Stevens.

The 21-year-old lightening bolt from New Orleans struggled throughout the opening day of qualifying, posting two lackluster laps and finishing at the bottom of the field. But, by virtue of his 1999 win in Englishtown, N.J., Stevens will race on Sunday regardless of his performance in qualifying. Still, with two more qualifying sessions scheduled for tomorrow, Stevens is hoping for much more from his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird before the race for a $50,000 top prize begins in earnest.

“We’re having some problems today,” Stevens said. “In the first round we just didn’t have the clutch set up right. Then, in Round 2, I was cruising on down through there when the car just died. Everything went out -- the motor, the gauges, the electrical system, everything. It just killed the run.

“It’s disappointing because that was the only night session of the weekend and we were on a great run. I was next to Allen Johnson, running side-by-side with him, until the car died. He posted a 7.06 so I would think we would have been in that range. That’s real good for this track because of the altitude here.

“It’s been a strange deal because we got back to the pit and everything checked out fine. There has to be a pinched wire somewhere. Something as simple as that can ruin you. We’re dissecting the car now and checking it in sections to see if we can pinpoint the problem. It’s not the main power switch. We know that. We’ll just keep working until we have it solved.”

There are 22 cars in attendance at this event. Stevens is the only pre-qualified driver that isn’t in the top 16 so far. He will have two more qualifying passes tomorrow and then Sunday’s elimination field will be set. If he fails to improve he will be inserted in the 16th and final position, supplanting Roger Jenkins.

“We need to make a big move up tomorrow,” Stevens said. “I’d like to be on a roll before Sunday and we really need to fight for lane choice. We’ll be busy.”

Qualifying highlights for the second annual Winston “No Bull” Showdown will air from 10 p.m. to midnight (ET), Saturday, on ESPN2. The elimination rounds will be shown from 9:30-11:30 p.m. (ET), Sunday, also on ESPN2.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Allen Johnson