Seattle: Stevens ready to start over

SEATTLE (July 25) -- Pro Stock pilot Richie "The Kid" Stevens is still seething about his uncharacteristic DNQ (did not qualify) finish at the NHRA's last stop in Denver. The miscue marked the first time since February 1999, when Stevens and...

SEATTLE (July 25) -- Pro Stock pilot Richie "The Kid" Stevens is still seething about his uncharacteristic DNQ (did not qualify) finish at the NHRA's last stop in Denver. The miscue marked the first time since February 1999, when Stevens and his father Richie Stevens Sr. assumed ownership of their Valspar Refinish Race Team, that they failed to earn a position in Sunday's race day field.

Looking forward to this weekend's 13th annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals presented NAPA Auto Parts, Stevens knows there is just one way to sooth the pain caused by missing the action for the first time in 33 events.

"The only way for us to forget about it is to kick some butt in Seattle," Stevens said. "We were very proud of our streak and when I watched the rerun of the race the other day I felt just as bad as when it happened. It still bothers me. But, if we can go into Seattle and run the way I know we're capable of running, then we'll go some rounds and maybe have a chance at winning this race. That would sure help me feel better in a hurry."

In order to assure a successful weekend at Seattle International Raceway, Stevens and crew have elected to test extensively this week in Woodburn, Ore., where they will also compete in a match race Wednesday night.

"We're going to run as many laps as we can in both cars," said Stevens, who is in eighth place in the Winston points standings. "I want to run the wheels off of these things until we figure them out completely. The plan is for us to run both cars in testing and then we'll pick whichever one is running the strongest to run in Seattle this weekend.

"All of our goals have been reset. The first priority now is to get to Seattle, run quick on Friday, and put this Valspar Pontiac solidly in the field. Then we'll worry about Sunday. I like the track in Seattle. It can be one of the quickest ones we go to when the conditions are right. Plus, it's so nice up there. It's a good place to start over.

"I'm asking all my friends and fans to keep their fingers crossed and send some luck our way. We've been working as hard as we can and I think we just need to catch a few breaks and we'll be in the winner's circle again. Hopefully, it'll happen in Seattle."

ESPN2 will broadcast this race. Qualifying highlights will air from 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (7:30-9:30 p.m. PT) Saturday with a repeat at 3:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (12:30-2:30 a.m. PT) Sunday. The eliminations will air from 7-9 p.m. ET (4-6 p.m. PT) Sunday with a rebroadcast from 3:30-5:30 a.m. ET (12:30-2:30 a.m. PT) Monday morning.

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Series NHRA