Columbus Team Pennzoil Richie Stevens Sunday Report

Coughlin ends Stevens' day COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13) -- Hometown hero Jeg Coughlin stopped the championship run of Valspar Refinish driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens in the second round of the 35th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National ...

Coughlin ends Stevens' day

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13) -- Hometown hero Jeg Coughlin stopped the championship run of Valspar Refinish driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens in the second round of the 35th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway. Coughlin used his superior horsepower to post a 7.063-second lap at 196.85 mph to Stevens' 7.093-second, 194.46-mph pass.

"It was hot out there and the car moved around a lot," Stevens said. "But Coughlin had us covered any ways. His car was just plain faster than ours this weekend.

"All things considered, this was a great weekend for us. We were not using our regular motor and we still managed to qualify pretty well and win a round. That means we held on to our spot in the standings (third place) and we even actually made up a little ground on Kurt Johnson, who is the next guy ahead of us. I'm pretty happy.

"Hopefully, our regular motor will be ready to go in St. Louis and we can start contending for the title again."

Earlier in the day, Stevens pasted Allen Johnson at the starting line to take his Round 1 win on a holeshot. Stevens reacted to the green light with a near-perfect 0.405 second launch (0.400 is perfect) compared to Johnson's 0.445-second start. As it turned out he needed every bit of the advantage as Johnson went on to post a 7.053-second lap at 195.90 mph to Stevens' 7.078-second pass at 195.05 mph. The final margin of victory was 0.015 seconds or about four feet.

"I watched the two runs ahead of me and I knew the left lane was better," Stevens said. "Plus, I already knew that Allen had been running real strong all weekend so the pressure was really on to nail the light. I know everyone will say that I guessed at it but I actually did see a flash of yellow when I dumped the clutch."

Stevens has won one national event and 14 elimination round races in 1999.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Allen Johnson