Atlanta Richie Stevens Finals Notes

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16) -- For the second race in a row Richie "The Kid" Stevens has driven his Valspar Refinish machine into the semifinal round of a National Hot Rod Association national event. This Sunday it's the 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts...

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16) -- For the second race in a row Richie "The Kid" Stevens has driven his Valspar Refinish machine into the semifinal round of a National Hot Rod Association national event. This Sunday it's the 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Atlanta Dragway where Stevens is showing off his driving prowess and at this point he shows no signs of slowing down.

The 20-year-old New Orleans native got a free pass in the quarterfinal round when his opponent Steve Schmidt left the starting line too early and was disqualified. Stevens still posted a competitive lap of 6.999 seconds at 198.06 to earn the advantage of lane choice over Mike Thomas in the semifinals. Thomas ran a 7.040-second lap at 198.26 mph in Round 2 to advance to the race with Stevens.

"Another semifinal race," an elated Stevens said. "Our lucky streak just keeps on coming. It feels great to be here and the car continues to run great. The tracks getting hot and it's real sticky but we ran well enough to keep lane choice over Mike, which should help out a lot. The car spun a little at the start but after that she flew right down the strip. It's starting to get fun out here. I'm really charged up."

Stevens stuffed Mike Trumble Jr. in the first round with the session's second quickest lap, a 6.938-second blast at 198.85 mph to Trumble's 6.999-seconds lap at 198.73 mph.

"That was a clean run and it was great to get the win and to be the second best car of the round, but we encountered a couple of problems out there," Stevens said. "At first the car didn't want to start. Then we got it going and it ran the lap fine. But after the run was over, we had a fire in the fender well and it started coming up in the cockpit. It got real warm in a hurry. The crew did a great job getting the Valspar machine repaired before Round 2."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Steve Schmidt , Mike Trumble