Chicago Route 66 not kind to Team Valspar

CHICAGO (June 4) – In a rematch of yesterday’s opening round of the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel, Valspar Refinish driver Richie “The Kid” Stevens started today’s Prestone Nationals elimination action against veteran Kurt Johnson.

CHICAGO (June 4) – In a rematch of yesterday’s opening round of the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel, Valspar Refinish driver Richie “The Kid” Stevens started today’s Prestone Nationals elimination action against veteran Kurt Johnson. Unfortunately, the end result was the same as Stevens was eliminated from competition for the second time by Johnson and his ACDelco Camaro.

This time Stevens had to wait out a rain delay before his match. The two then lined up and raced side-by-side until half-track when Johnson simply drove away for the win while Stevens struggled to keep his Valspar Pontiac Firebird straight. The final numbers saw identical starting times followed by a 6.946-second, 197.88-mph pass for Johnson against a 6.993-second, 194.55-mph lap for Stevens.

“I’m ready to get out of here and forget all about Chicago for awhile,” Stevens said. “We just had no luck at all this weekend. Not one little bit. The only positive I can think of is that we did compete in the Dominator Duel, which is a true sign that you’re one of the best eight teams of the past year. Other than that, I’d just as soon put this race behind me.”

Stevens can also hang his hat on the fact that he qualified for his 30th consecutive race. The streak is the second longest active run in the Pro Stock bracket, behind only five-time champion Warren Johnson, who last drew a DNQ 250 races ago in the spring of 1987.

“I’m not sure why the car moved around so much on this track,” Stevens said. “Especially in today’s race. It could have been the weather, the track itself, or maybe it’s our car. I haven’t had a car jump around so much on a track like this since I was racing in the IHRA three years ago.

“In the finals Kurt and I were side-by-side until the eighth-mile mark then I started moving around all over the place and he stayed straight. That was the difference between winning and losing. We just never had a good run here.”

Stevens and the rest of the NHRA will now have a weekend off before returning to action June 15-18 at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson