COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16) - It was a meeting of "The Professor" and "The Kid" in the Pro Stock elimination finals of Sunday's 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. At the other end of the track it was Warren "The Professor" ...
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16) - It was a meeting of "The Professor" and "The Kid" in the Pro Stock elimination finals of Sunday's 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. At the other end of the track it was Warren "The Professor" Johnson scoring one for the older generation by snatching the crown away from a red-lighting Richie "The Kid" Stevens.
The 20-year-old driver of the Valspar Refinish Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird couldn't fight off an overwhelming feeling that he had to be perfect at the light and drew the starting line violation with a 0.365-second start.
"I was trying so hard to get the jump," Stevens said. "I knew I had to be quick at the tree because he had been the only car running quicker than me all weekend. So, knowing that he had the power to beat me, I was pushing as hard as I could to get any advantage I could get. Plus, he had the good lane, which made me even more anxious.
"I hate to red-light. Especially when the car was running as good as it has been all weekend. My hat's off to the Valspar crew and my crew chief Tommy Utt. They had this car ready every lap. We qualified great, ran great today and finished second. That's not a bad weekend. I just wish I could have brought home the win for them.
"Going to two finals in a row is a real accomplishment for us. In order to win a race, you have to get to the finals so at least we had a chance. I think we should be in the top five of the points standings by now and I don't see any reason why we can't continue to run fast everywhere we go."
Stevens beat Mike Trumble, Steve Schmidt and Mike Thomas on his way to the finals. He is now 1-3 in final rounds with his sole win coming in November at the Winston Finals. Entering this race, Stevens was seventh in the Winston championship points standings.