Houston Richie Stevens off to Steady Start

HOUSTON (April 9) -- A hot Texas day slightly slowed the opening round of professional qualifying at the 12th Annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Still the times posted Friday afternoon on the quick Houston Raceway Park surface were...

HOUSTON (April 9) -- A hot Texas day slightly slowed the opening round of professional qualifying at the 12th Annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Still the times posted Friday afternoon on the quick Houston Raceway Park surface were impressive enough to keep the near-capacity crowd at the edge of their seats.

New Orleans native Richie "The Kid" Stevens started his race weekend with a solid pass of 7.014 seconds at 197.02 mph in Round 1. The time temporarily placed Stevens in the 15th spot of a 35-car field. He will have three more opportunities to improve on his time before Sunday's elimination sessions begin.

"We played it safe that lap and it looks as though we played it way too safe," Stevens said. "But that's okay. We made a full run and we're in the middle of the pack. We know what the track is like now and we know how our car is going to react. So we should be good to go tonight.

"The track is actually better than we expected. We thought that because it was hot the track would be loose. But it actually handled everything we threw at it and it could've taken more. Now we know that so we can prepare the car better.

"The car bogged a little at about the 60-foot mark and then it picked up and ran well all the way down the track. So it appears to be a minor clutch adjustment away from being perfect. We'll be quicker tonight and we've got the right lane, which seems to be the better of the two."

Qualifying Round 2 begins later this evening.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA