Pomona Stevens Reaches First Final Round

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15) -- Collins Racing's rookie driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens has driven his Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird into the first national event finals of his short career Sunday at the 34th Annual Winston Finals. Stevens, 19,...

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15) -- Collins Racing's rookie driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens has driven his Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird into the first national event finals of his short career Sunday at the 34th Annual Winston Finals.

Stevens, 19, bettered veteran driver George Marnell in the semifinals when he carded a 6.933-second lap at 198.15 mph to Marnell's 7.064-second pass at 195.05 mph. He will now face Jeg Coughlin in the finals. Coughlin ran a 6.946-second lap at 198.98 mph to defeat 1998 champion Warren Johnson (6.932 seconds at 199.07 mph.) Due to his superior elapsed time, Stevens will have lane choice over Coughlin.

"I knew I just needed a decent light and a clean run to beat Mr. Marnell," Stevens said. "He's a great driver but his car has been a little off this weekend. The car worked perfect again and I was able to win. This is the most awesome feeling I've ever had. Reaching the finals and having lane choice and a good chance to win is like a dream for me.

"I give all the credit to Tommy (Utt, crew chief) and the rest of the guys. This car, right now, is in the best shape it's ever been. Look how consistent it's been. This weekend just keeps getting better and better. It's unbelievable.

"Jeg beat me here in the first race of the year and he's beaten me two other times so I owe him. It would be nice to get the big W in the finals."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , George Marnell