Pomona Richie Stevens Stays in Contention

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- The Team Valspar entries of Richie "The Kid" Stevens and Don Beverley remain solidly in contention for the title of the 35th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals through two rounds of qualifying. The...

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- The Team Valspar entries of Richie "The Kid" Stevens and Don Beverley remain solidly in contention for the title of the 35th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals through two rounds of qualifying. The duo will have two more chances to improve their current positions during Saturday's final two sessions.

Although he couldn't improve on his previously posted time of 6.928 seconds at 198.00 mph, Stevens successfully stayed near the top of the 16-car field in the No. 4 spot. Stevens' second round pass of 6.94 seconds at 197 mph was a tick off yesterday's lap, but it occurred in the less-than-desirable right-hand lane under slightly hotter conditions.

"The main thing today's lap told me was that lane choice at this track is very, very important," Stevens said. "The run was actually a lot better than the first one when you look at it on the computer but they conditions just wouldn't let us go any quicker than we did.

"We were the quickest car in that lane and that's a nice boost for me mentally just in case I end up on that side at some point Sunday. At least I know we can get down the lane under full power and that the car will put a decent number on the board.

"We're feeling pretty good right now in the Valspar pit. We have a couple of quick laps under our belt and we can really start tuning for Race Day conditions."

Driving Stevens' back-up Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird for the third time this season, Beverley ran a much-improved pass of 6.985 seconds at 196.85 mph in Round 2. His pass is just .005 of a second off the pace needed to make the 16-car field and shows him in 18th place on the ladder.

"We're much closer to where we need to be," Beverley said. "The car and the driver are still just a little bit off. I'm pleased that we gained the knowledge and the data we picked up today and I think we have a real good chance at moving up tomorrow."

ESPN2 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at midnight (CST) Saturday, Nov. 13. The network will then show two hours of Big Bud Shootout action at 2 p.m. and one hour of final-round coverage at 7:30 p.m. (CST) on Sunday, Nov. 14.

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Series NHRA