Stevens experiences deja vu in Dallas DALLAS (April 25) -- Things just happened to fall into a familiar rhythm for Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens at the Third Annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts.
Stevens experiences deja vu in Dallas
DALLAS (April 25) -- Things just happened to fall into a familiar rhythm for Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens at the Third Annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts. For the third race in a row, Stevens placed his sleek machine comfortably in the qualifying field and went on to win his first round race on Sunday by virtue of a holeshot. Unfortunately for Team Valspar, Stevens continued another trend -- that of bowing out of the action in the quarterfinal round.
The New Orleans native posted progressively better elapsed times in each of the four qualifying sessions, which took place Friday and Saturday. He eventually settled into the favored top half of the qualifying field in the No. 8 spot.
In the opening round of eliminations, Stevens faced off against Steve Schmidt and won his race at the starting line with a superior reaction time (0.439 seconds to 0.467 seconds.) The holeshot edge eventually convinced Schmidt to surrender at the long end of the track and Stevens took a 7.011-second win at 195.77 mph to Schmidt's 7.110-second pass at 175.33 mph.
Then, Stevens had to face reigning Winston points champion Warren Johnson, who had already set both ends of the track record with a 6.904-second, 200.22-mph pass in qualifying. Johnson's dominance continued in his quarterfinal match-up with Stevens and the man they call "The Professor" was able to take the win by posting a 6.956-second lap at 199.33 mph to Stevens' 7.006-second pass at 196.42 mph.
"Another great weekend ends sooner than I wanted it to," Stevens said. "I really thought I had a win over WJ (Johnson) this time. I got him at the line (0.426 seconds to 0.454 seconds) and I never saw him until I was in fifth gear. I was saying 'hold on baby, hold on.' It was so close at the line that I really didn't know who won. I was praying that the little win light would come on but it didn't. I even said to Warren when I got out of the car, 'I thought I got you this time.' And he said, 'Well, you didn't.'
"Once again, I'm still very happy with how the team worked together to make this car run so well all weekend. We qualified well and won another round so we continue to make progress. If we keep after it, I know a win won't be far away."