St Louis Richie Stevens Elimination Report

Stevens slowed in St. Louis ST. LOUIS (June 26) -- A lengthy rain delay pushed the start of the elimination rounds of the Third Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway back a full three hours, which only made Valspar...

Stevens slowed in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (June 26) -- A lengthy rain delay pushed the start of the elimination rounds of the Third Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway back a full three hours, which only made Valspar Refinish driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens' first round loss to Mark Pawuk that much harder to take.

The 20-year-old Stevens got the jump on the veteran Pawuk at the beginning of the race, leaving the starting line in 0.433 seconds to Pawuk's 0.466-second launch. But the driver known as "The Cowboy" managed to track Stevens down over the length of the quarter-mile strip and take the win with a time of 7.022 seconds at 196.73 mph to "The Kid's" 7.073-second, 194.16-mph pass. The margin of victory was a mere 0.018 seconds.

"I'm not happy," Stevens said. "A 0.433 light should beat a 0.466 light every time. If that isn't enough of an advantage to get the win then I don't know what is. I need power. I mean, I did my job getting a good light and hitting the shift points at the right time and Tommy (Utt, crew chief) did his job getting the car in top shape, we just need more power.

"It's a bad situation that we've had to use our back-up motor these last few races. We were on such a high note, going rounds at every race, reaching three finals in a row and winning in New Jersey. But now we can't even get out of the first round. This is bringing everybody down. Hopefully, we'll have this problem fixed by the Bristol race."

Stevens entered this event in third place in the Winston championship points standings and has a 14-8 record in elimination racing this season. He has successfully qualified for nine of 11 races in 1999.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk