'Kid' ready to make big Race Day move

SEATTLE (July 29) -- The professional drivers competing at the 13th annual Prolong Northwest Nationals had to forgo any thoughts of improving their previously posted times today at Seattle International Raceway when temperatures neared the 90s.

SEATTLE (July 29) -- The professional drivers competing at the 13th annual Prolong Northwest Nationals had to forgo any thoughts of improving their previously posted times today at Seattle International Raceway when temperatures neared the 90s. Instead, most teams, including the Valspar Refinish crew of third-year Pro Stock favorite Richie "The Kid" Stevens, busied themselves with finding the proper race day tune-up that they hope will take them to the Winner's Circle tomorrow.

Like most of the competitors at this event, Stevens' best pass of the weekend came in Round 2 on Friday evening. That's when the 21-year-old from New Orleans posted a 6.927-second lap at 197.22 mph, which was good enough to earn him the No. 5 position in the extremely quick field. He will now open against Reher-Morrison's Bruce Allen, who posted a 12-best 6.946 at 198.47 mph.

This race marks the sixth time this season that Team Valspar will start Sunday's elimination action with lane choice, a luxury afforded to all cars in the top half of the 16-car field. According to the Stevens, that advantage couldn't come at a better time.

"This track is very tricky and when it's hot like it was today then lane choice can be the difference between winning and losing," Stevens said. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if lane choice plays a huge role tomorrow.

"I'm glad we're in the field solidly. I'm feeling really good about our chances. This old Valspar Refinish car has been so consistent, which is exactly what we wanted. It's run a 6.93, 6.92, and two 6.95s, in that order. That kind of consistency is what wins races. That's definitely how we've won races before in the past. We weren't always the quickest or the fastest car at the meet but we're always consistent. I'll be happy if we can maintain it tomorrow.

"We've had a good year and I'm happy we're in the top 10 (currently eighth). Now it's time to go some rounds at every race and get a win or two. That will help us move up in the standings and finish the year strong. Before you know it we'll be out of races so it's time to step it up right now. Tomorrow will be a good test."

Qualifying highlights of this race will air tonight from 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (7:30-9:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN2 with a repeat at 3:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (12:30-2:30 a.m. PT) tomorrow morning. The eliminations will air from 7-9 p.m. ET (4-6 p.m. PT) tomorrow with a rebroadcast from 3:30-5:30 a.m. ET (12:30-2:30 a.m. PT) Monday morning.

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'Kid' ready to make big Race Day move

SEATTLE (July 29) -- The professional drivers competing at the 13th annual Prolong Northwest Nationals had to forgo any thoughts of improving their previously posted times today at Seattle International Raceway when temperatures neared the 90s. Instead, most teams, including the Valspar Refinish crew of third-year Pro Stock favorite Richie "The Kid" Stevens, busied themselves with finding the proper race day tune-up that they hope will take them to the Winner's Circle tomorrow.

Like most of the competitors at this event, Stevens' best pass of the weekend came in Round 2 on Friday evening. That's when the 21-year-old from New Orleans posted a 6.927-second lap at 197.22 mph, which was good enough to earn him the No. 5 position in the extremely quick field. He will now open against Reher-Morrison's Bruce Allen, who posted a 12-best 6.946 at 198.47 mph.

This race marks the sixth time this season that Team Valspar will start Sunday's elimination action with lane choice, a luxury afforded to all cars in the top half of the 16-car field. According to the Stevens, that advantage couldn't come at a better time.

"This track is very tricky and when it's hot like it was today then lane choice can be the difference between winning and losing," Stevens said. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if lane choice plays a huge role tomorrow.

"I'm glad we're in the field solidly. I'm feeling really good about our chances. This old Valspar Refinish car has been so consistent, which is exactly what we wanted. It's run a 6.93, 6.92, and two 6.95s, in that order. That kind of consistency is what wins races. That's definitely how we've won races before in the past. We weren't always the quickest or the fastest car at the meet but we're always consistent. I'll be happy if we can maintain it tomorrow.

"We've had a good year and I'm happy we're in the top 10 (currently eighth). Now it's time to go some rounds at every race and get a win or two. That will help us move up in the standings and finish the year strong. Before you know it we'll be out of races so it's time to step it up right now. Tomorrow will be a good test."

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