Englishtown Team Stevens Sunday Report

Team Stevens returns to third round ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 23) -- The hot streak of Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens continued full speed ahead Sunday at the twice rain-delayed Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway ...

Team Stevens returns to third round

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 23) -- The hot streak of Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens continued full speed ahead Sunday at the twice rain-delayed Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Stevens, who has raced his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird into the final round of the last two National Hot Rod Association events, shook off the rainy conditions this day offered and easily cruised into the semifinal round of this race. At that point - with safety being the top priority -- the NHRA stopped the action for a second time as another lengthy rain shower soaked the track. Stevens now stands ready to square off against Jeg Coughlin when the event continues at 11 a.m. Monday.

The day started with a three-and-a-half-hour rain delay that did little to affect the confidence of the 20-year-old sensation for New Orleans. He soundly beat former NBA great Larry Nance in Round 1 with a 6.964-second lap at 197.80 mph to Nance's 7.213-second pass at 193.65 mph.

In the quarterfinals, Stevens exacted a little revenge by downing Allen Johnson, who had beaten Stevens in the finals of the Richmond, Va. event in late April. This time around Stevens took the victory by running a 6.975-second pass at 197.42 mph against Johnson's 7.149-second lap at 167.86 mph.

"If you take away the rain, this day has been great for us," Stevens said. "The first run against Larry really got me focused. I knew I needed to have a good reaction time against him because he's always so quick at the starting line. I ended up getting a great light (0.437 seconds) and the car did the rest by running the second fastest lap of the session.

"Against Allen the car was perfect again. I mean it went straight as an arrow down the track. I don't know that I've ever had a car like this before. Tommy (Utt, crew chief) has the thing running awesome. The engine is unbelievable and the chassis is set up perfect. It just runs great every time out there."

Utt added his strategy thoughts. "We're not trying to set the world record when we go out there," he said. "We're just trying to run a little bit quicker then the car we're racing against. So far, our strategy has been working pretty good."

Stevens has logged 11 elimination round wins in 1999 and moved into third place in the Winston championship points standings after his quarterfinal win.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Nance