'Kid's' Record run sets stage for fast Sunday RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - It will be a long time before Pro Stock upstart Richie "The Kid" Stevens forgets about the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Stevens has already ...
'Kid's' Record run sets stage for fast Sunday
RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - It will be a long time before Pro Stock upstart Richie "The Kid" Stevens forgets about the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Stevens has already experienced so many memorable moments at Virginia Motorsports Park in the first two days of the event it seems impossible that a full day of elimination racing still lies ahead on Sunday. But it does, and the 20-year-old sophomore driver from New Orleans is ready to add a national event win to his impressive list of accomplishments this weekend.
Through four rounds of professional qualifying, Stevens has already bettered his career-best elapsed time and top mph marks on every trip down the strip. He finally stopped at an awe-inspiring 6.861-second pass at 200.08 mph, which gave him sole possession of the all-time national elapsed time record. While Stevens' marks were eventually bettered by Kurt and Warren Johnson, he will always have his own line in the NHRA record book saying that he was the Quickest Man in the World. By surpassing 200 mph in his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, Stevens also became the eighth member of the illustrious Speed-Pro 200-MPH Club.
But the statistic that will pay the most dividends on Race Day is the fact that Stevens earned the No. 3 position on the qualifying ladder in the quickest field ever assembled. With a premium set on the coveted advantage of lane choice, Stevens' extra effort should be a big advantage when the world's best drivers battle for the event's crown.
"Everything has been perfect for us so far," Stevens said. "Getting a hold of the national record and going over 200 mph were two moments the crew and I will never forget. Both things were real boosts for the team. My father Richie Sr., our crew chief Tommy Utt, Jay Glancy and Mike Greer have worked so hard to make this thing work. It's cool for everyone to be rewarded every once in a while.
"The Valspar machine has been so consistent and fast and it's made us very excited about Sunday. This is by far the quickest it has ever run. Having lane choice will also really help because everyone has been struggling on the left side.
"I would have loved to have stayed on top of the field but at least I'm close enough to Warren and Kurt that I can beat them on the track. The two-hundredths of a second advantage they have in power can be made up with a good light. If we want to win this race, and believe me we really want to win this race, I need to be ready to go every time I get up to the starting line. I need to be good enough to maintain lane choice and beat these guys one race at a time. Everyone on the Valspar team is ready to go. We want to win."