ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (Sept. 8) -- Just as he was four months ago during the original qualifying sessions for the rain-delayed Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens was the second quickest car in attendance...
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (Sept. 8) -- Just as he was four months ago during the original qualifying sessions for the rain-delayed Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens was the second quickest car in attendance during Friday's two scheduled test-and-tune rounds.
Stevens, a 21-year-old from New Orleans who drives the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, ran a near-perfect 6.898-second lap at 197.77 mph during the day's second session. He maintains a decided advantage over his pre-established first round opponent Bruce Allen, who topped out at 6.938-seconds and 197.65 mph, also in Round 2. Both men recorded lesser laps in the right lane earlier in the day.
"The biggest thing we learned today is that we're glad to have lane choice," Stevens said. "If this was a normal event and we had a full weekend of the fuel cars going down the track then it probably wouldn't matter. But the way it is with only the top 16 qualified cars here in each class, we have to take it like it is and I think the left side is much better. I think Bruce would agree with me."
On the original race date in mid-May, only two and a half rounds of professional qualifying were completed before officials deemed the track unsafe due to extreme cold and rain. Organizers elected to set the elimination fields at that point and reschedule the race for the next weekend that made sense in relation to the rest of the schedule. The NHRA tour will be in nearby Reading, Pa., next weekend.
Entering the race as the defending event champion, Stevens was equally proficient during the first stop, recording the session's second quickest elapsed time of 6.840 seconds during a 200.23 mph pass. Both marks established career best numbers for Stevens and his Valspar Refinish crew.
"We love this track," Stevens said. "For whatever reason this Valspar Pontiac runs strong here. I'm proud to be the defending champ and, just like it says, we plan on defending our title tomorrow. There is no reason to think we won't have a great day. The car's running great and I've been doing all right driving. I'm ready to race."
The rescheduled 31st annual Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals will be broadcast Sunday from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN.