Bristol: Stevens downs W.J., falls to Coughlin

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 9) -- Continuing his steady performances of the last year and a half, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens successfully qualified for the second annual Winston "No Bull" Showdown and racked up his 10th elimination-round...

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 9) -- Continuing his steady performances of the last year and a half, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens successfully qualified for the second annual Winston "No Bull" Showdown and racked up his 10th elimination-round win of the 2000 season today. Stevens beat five-time Winston champion Warren Johnson in the opening round before bowing out to Troy Coughlin in the quarterfinals.

The 21-year-old Stevens, who was pre-qualified for this all-star event courtesy of his win last year in Englishtown, N.J., was the talk of the track when he downed Johnson with a hole-shot in the opening stanza. But he ran into traction problems in the heat of the day and fell to Coughlin -- by a 7.075 to 7.115-second margin -- in Round 2. Even so, his quarterfinal finish earned Stevens a nice slice of the $124,000 Pro Stock prize pool.

"The right lane wasn't great to begin with and the hotter it got the worse it was," Stevens said. "We might have had a little left in the tune-up but not enough to beat Troy out of that lane. He had the better car today and he won. I was hoping to go a few more rounds but it just didn't happen. But we had a good time this weekend and we'll be ready to go later this week when we get to Denver."

Stevens' first-round win over Johnson was the best drag race of the entire day. The younger Stevens got a small headstart, leaving in .456 seconds in front of Johnson's .466-second launch. The two men then stayed side-by-side all the way down the strip with Johnson slowly closing the gap. But Johnson ran out of track and Stevens won by a mere five thousandths of a second. The final numbers had Stevens winning with a 7.104-second lap at 193.60 mph while Johnson posted a 7.099-second, 195.36-mph pass.

"This is a great way to start the day," Stevens said after his win over Johnson. "I've raced Warren several times and I've only beaten him twice. Once in Houston earlier this year and then again today. Any time you beat a five-time Winston champion it's a huge win. It seems even bigger at this race because there is a lot of money on the line.

"We used our own motor this weekend also, which is another nice part of this win. We usually rent motors from him but we decided to use our own horsepower this weekend to see how we would do. Plus, Warren was talking a bunch of junk and giving me a hard time in the staging lanes before the race so I had show him what we're all about."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Warren Johnson