Smith sinks Stevens in Round 1 BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 11) -- The last time a National Hot Rod Association race was severely delayed by rain, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens patiently waited out the wet stuff and posted his first win of...
Smith sinks Stevens in Round 1
BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 11) -- The last time a National Hot Rod Association race was severely delayed by rain, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens patiently waited out the wet stuff and posted his first win of the 1999 season. At this weekend's Inaugural Winston Showdown, a one-and-a-half day rain delay ended up lulling the New Orleans native into a sleepy Round 1 loss.
Facing veteran racer and local favorite "Tricky" Rickie Smith, the 20-year-old Stevens uncharacteristically lost this race at the starting line when Smith reacted to the green light in 0.423 seconds compared to Stevens' 0.445-second start. As it turned out, Stevens would have needed an exceptional starting line advantage of his own to win this race as Smith tripped the timers in 7.087 seconds at 194.38 mph to Stevens' 7.118-second lap at 194.21 mph.
"It just wasn't our day," said Stevens, as he emerged from his Valspar Refinish Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird. "We've sent a lot of guys home this year by beating them at the starting line and I guess things just evened out a little today. It's a bummer for me because I really pride myself on nailing the light and I just didn't get it done. I feel bad for Tommy (Utt, crew chief) and the boys.
"This was still a cool weekend. It was great to take part in this all-star race. I've never been invited to one before so it was very special to me. Hopefully, I'll earn my way into a bunch more of these deals and maybe next time I can take home the trophy."
Stevens won't have long to ponder his Thunder Valley loss as the NHRA's next stop, the Mopar Mile-High Nationals, begin Thursday in Denver. "I'm already thinking about that race," Stevens said. "The one race we won this year in New Jersey was sponsored by Mopar also so maybe it's a good luck sign for us. I know one thing, it's time to put this Valspar Refinish car back in the Winner's Circle."