Chicago: Richie Stevens stays hot, braces for Duel

CHICAGO (June 2) – Pro Stock driver Richie “The Kid” Stevens drove his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird into the No. 11 position of the provisional qualifying field at the third annual Prestone Route 66 Nationals. Following the trend of...

CHICAGO (June 2) – Pro Stock driver Richie “The Kid” Stevens drove his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird into the No. 11 position of the provisional qualifying field at the third annual Prestone Route 66 Nationals. Following the trend of the entire Pro Stock field, Stevens used Friday’s much cooler nighttime session to record the 6.893-second, 198.50-mph pass. He will have two more chances to improve on the mark tomorrow.

“I love it when we run good enough on Friday night to earn a spot in the field,” Stevens said. “It just takes so much pressure off everyone on the crew and I sleep a lot better knowing that I don’t have to sweat it out all day Saturday.

“The Valspar car ran pretty well considering we were in a lane where everyone was getting a little loose. There was an accident a few pairs in front of us and the track still seemed slick. The groove is pretty narrow also, kind of like it was last week in Dallas. That sure didn’t help.

“I had to do quite a bit of driving. The car wanted to either go left or right and I was fighting it all the way down. That’s why the car moved around so much. With the way the motor ran if we had gone straight I think we would have run a 6.85 or a 6.86. Plus, when the car made one big move to the side I shifted early so I lost something there too. But overall we’re pretty happy in the Valspar pit.”

Stevens will be battling for the title of the $50,000 Holley Dominator Duel tomorrow. He opens against Kurt Johnson, who ran a 6.885-second pass at 200.00 mph in today’s second qualifying session. The first two rounds of the Dominator Duel will also count as the final two qualifying passes for the regular race.

“I’m glad we ran close to what Kurt was running today,” Stevens said. “Now I know we have a chance to beat him tomorrow and he has to know it too. He has a slight advantage but if I can hit a good light and drive straight down the track then I have a shot at winning.”

ESPN2 will broadcast four hours of the Prestone Route 66 Nationals this weekend. Qualifying highlights will air from 10 p.m.-midnight ET (5-7 p.m. PT) Saturday and same-day elimination round coverage will be broadcast from 5-7 p.m. ET (2-4 p.m. PT) Sunday. A rebroadcast of the elimination rounds will air from 4-6 a.m. ET (1-3 a.m. PT) Tuesday.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson