Seattle Richie Stevens Qualifying Report

Kid shows mettle, earns Race Day berth KENT, Wash. (July 31) - Sophomore Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens needed the cool confidence of a seasoned veteran to earn a spot in the elimination rounds of the 12th Annual Prolong Super ...

Kid shows mettle, earns Race Day berth

KENT, Wash. (July 31) - Sophomore Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens needed the cool confidence of a seasoned veteran to earn a spot in the elimination rounds of the 12th Annual Prolong Super Lubricants Nationals. And when the pressure was on during Saturday's final two rounds of professional qualifying at Seattle International Raceway, the 20-year-old pilot of the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird delivered.

Stevens shrugged off the last-minute charges of several top drivers in Rounds 3 and 4 and successfully held on to the No. 13 spot in the ultra-competitive field. His 6.967-second pass at 197.42 mph, which he posted in the third qualifying session, turned out to be his best of the weekend and earned him a first-round date with rival Jim Yates.

Yates finished the qualifying sessions in the No. 4 position after carding a 6.927-second, 198.03-mph pass. The two men have not faced each other this year but Yates is one spot ahead of Stevens in the Winston championship points standings.

"It's the perfect scenario," Stevens said. "I can send the No. 1 guy I'm chasing home early. I'd love to put that Splitfire car on its trailer after the first round but I'm going to have to run a great lap to do it.

"I really think we have the car that can get the job done. The fourth run we made wasn't our quickest of the weekend because it was too hot out there but it was a killer lap. I think we finally figured this track out. I can tell you this, if we had run as well as we did in Round 4 during this morning's session, I'd be up near the top of the ladder.

"At least now I can sleep well knowing that we have a great chance at going some rounds. It all starts with Yates.

"I was pretty happy after my Round 3 lap but I was definitely still crossing my fingers until the final car went down at the end of the day. This track is very tricky to get down. Everyone struggled at some point in the weekend. There are bumps out there and they cause you to spin. It also got hot today and that made the surface a little greasy. You really have to work all the way down the strip."

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Series NHRA