DALLAS (May 26) -- The hot and humid conditions at the Texas Motorplex were a stark contrast to the cold and wet of last weekend in New Jersey, but the Valspar Refinish team of Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens handled the changes with...
DALLAS (May 26) -- The hot and humid conditions at the Texas Motorplex were a stark contrast to the cold and wet of last weekend in New Jersey, but the Valspar Refinish team of Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens handled the changes with ease and posted a pair of quality opening day laps. Stevens currently has his sleek Pontiac Firebird comfortably in the field in the No. 9 position with a 7.076-second pass at 193.84 mph.
The 21-year-old driver from New Orleans posted his best lap in the cooler evening session after the sun had completely set. Earlier in the day, Stevens and the rest of the Pro Stock class battled 140-degree track temperatures. Still, "the Kid" ran a respectable 7.130-second pass at 193.34 mph to temporarily grab the No. 14 position.
"Well, first of all we're qualified," Stevens said. "That's always the No. 1 goal you have when you get to a race. Plus, we're up the ladder high enough that I think we'll stay in for the rest of qualifying no matter what the weather does tomorrow.
"I would like to get this car running a little better speed. We just had no top-end speed today at all. The data is telling us we had a problem with fuel pressure so we'll give it a little less fuel tomorrow and it won't run as rich. That should help.
"Overall, I'm happy with the car. We had two real decent, dead-on passes today even though the track was different the two times we ran. That's Tommy (Utt, crew chief) for you. He can always figure a track out whether it's hot or cold, loose or tight, it doesn't matter. He just knows what to do to get the car to go down the track."
If Stevens remains qualified, he will extend his streak of consecutive races to 29, which is second only to five-time champion Warren Johnson.
"I think we'll stay qualified," Stevens said. "The morning session could be really good tomorrow if it doesn't get too hot too early. But a lot of cars would have to step up to knock us out. Plus, if everyone else is going fast in the morning I think we'll be right there with them. I'd really like to step it up and get this Valspar Pontiac in the top half of the field. I don't think lane choice is critical here but it never hurts to have it."
The elimination rounds of the fourth annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts will air from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT), May 28 on TNN.