Richmond; Rain-shortened day slows Richie Stevens

RICHMOND, Va. (April 28) -- An on-again, off-again day of rain in Central Virginia left Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens feeling unfulfilled as qualifying for the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet began at Virginia...

RICHMOND, Va. (April 28) -- An on-again, off-again day of rain in Central Virginia left Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens feeling unfulfilled as qualifying for the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet began at Virginia Motorsports Park.

The persistent showers eventually forced the cancellation of the day's second qualifying round, which wasn't much consolation to Stevens' Valspar Refinish team. The group had a lackluster lap in the day's only session -- 7.087 seconds at 191.40 mph -- which was well off the quick pace and left Stevens in 27th place out of 32 drivers

"We had a valve spring go bad in the engine so one of the cylinders wasn't firing," Stevens said. "That just sucks the power right out of the car. I didn't even realize it until I got to the other end. I thought we were slow because the lane was bad. Everyone was talking about the bumps that were out there. But it was the motor instead.

"It's too bad we didn't get to run tonight. We had the Valspar car up there ready to go but the rain just wouldn't stop. As cool as it was, we would have been flying. The motor was easy to repair and we'll have plenty of power tomorrow. I'm not worried about getting in the field at all. We'll be fine."

For the third race in a row there will be two Valspar cars racing. This time it's Don Beverly behind the wheel of Stevens' back up Valspar Refinish car. For the last two events fellow Pro Stocker Mike Thomas has been borrowing the car while his primary car was being repaired.

Beverly, who built Virginia Motorsports Park six years ago, suffered the same fate as Stevens today when he encountered engine problems during his pre-race burnout. He did not record a lap.

"We went ahead and swapped motors so we'll have a brand new piece in there tomorrow," said Beverly, a native of Virginia. "I'd like to give Valspar double exposure at this race so we hope we can make the field and go a few rounds."

The elimination rounds of the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet will be broadcast from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT) Sunday, April 30 on TNN.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas