Sears Point: Consistency stays in Stevens' corner

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 4) -- Showing the same consistency that earned him a win last weekend in Seattle, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens peeled off another steady lap Friday down a hot and greasy Sears Point Raceway to qualify No. 10...

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 4) -- Showing the same consistency that earned him a win last weekend in Seattle, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens peeled off another steady lap Friday down a hot and greasy Sears Point Raceway to qualify No. 10 in the provisional field of the 13th annual Fram Autolite Nationals.

Just as he did in the last three rounds of racing at Seattle International Raceway, Stevens posted a 7.01-second lap in Round 1 today when he tripped the timers at 7.017 and 198.09 mph in his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird. It turned out to be his best lap of the day's two sessions and he and his crew are now planning to use Saturday's two rounds to possibly move up the qualifying ladder while also fine-tuning for Sunday.

"The Valspar car is definitely running on a string," Stevens said. "Now we just need to pick it up a bit because a 7.01 isn't quite good enough for this track. The good news is that we made a pretty good run but there is definitely a lot more in it. I was shaking all the way down that lap and that just scrubs off so much time.

"I'm already excited about tomorrow because it's really cooled off a lot tonight and we're the first pair out in the morning session. That will be the time to shine and I guarantee we'll be ready to jump up the ladder. The track should be perfect by then because they'll be a bunch more rubber down after tonight's fuel session and we're running early enough that the sun won't have a chance to beat down on it for too long. We'll be fast."

Stevens, a 21-year-old from New Orleans, will have two more chances to improve on his posted time during Saturday's final two qualifying sessions, which are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"Obviously, we would like to move into the upper half of the field so we have lane choice. But right now I couldn't tell you which one is better. Earlier today the right lane was awesome and tonight the best times were run in the left lane. I'll be watching them both tomorrow to see what everyone else is doing. Either way, I want to have my pick when we start racing for real on Sunday."

Several hours of the 13th annual Autolite Nationals will be broadcast on ESPN2. Qualifying highlights will air from 9:30-11 p.m. (ET)/6:30-8 p.m. (PT) Saturday. Eliminations will be shown from 9:30p.m. - Midnight (ET)/6:30-9 p.m. (PT) Sunday with a rebroadcast from 1-3 p.m. (ET)/10 a.m. - noon (PT) on Wednesday, Aug. 9.

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Series NHRA