Denver Altitude Should Help Kid's Attitude

Altitude should help Kid's attitude DENVER (July 12) -- Three races ago, sophomore Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens was on top of the drag racing world and, very nearly, on top of the Winston points standings. Heading into this...

Altitude should help Kid's attitude

DENVER (July 12) -- Three races ago, sophomore Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens was on top of the drag racing world and, very nearly, on top of the Winston points standings. Heading into this weekend's 21st Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, which begin Thursday at historic Bandimere Speedway, Stevens is hoping to return to the same championship form that put him in such a lofty position to begin with.

Following a surge that saw the 20-year-old from New Orleans drive his Valspar Refinish machine into the final round of three straight races and the Winner's Circle of the New Jersey event, Stevens has struggled of late, dropping three consecutive first-round matches. It's a trend he hopes to end immediately, if not sooner.

"I don't think I've ever been this anxious to get to a race before," Stevens said. "I wish it was starting right now. I'm ready. I've already changed my flight plans to get me there sooner than I had originally planned. I want to be totally ready when the racing starts.

"We worked hard and had this Valspar Refinish car all the way up to the No. 3 spot in the standings and we were closing in on WJ (Warren Johnson) and Kurt (Johnson) before we blew up our No. 1 motor. Since then we've struggled a little and I dropped down one spot in the standings. It's time to turn this thing back around. I like fighting for the top spot a lot better than going home early on Sunday.

"I think racing in the Winston Showdown this past weekend in Bristol (Tenn.) will really help us in Denver. That track was at a bit of an altitude so we feel like the car is close to being set up right for Bandimere. We could have made a nice run in Bristol but we just missed matching the clutch to the motor. We won't make that same mistake in Denver."

Halfway through the season, Stevens is already close to recording a career-best year. Aside from his win in New Jersey and his three final round appearances, he has posted a 14-8 record in elimination round races, participated in the Holley Dominator Duel, earned a spot in the Winston Showdown and joined the ranks of the exclusive Speed-Pro 200 mph Pro Stock Club. For many drivers, that's a career in itself.

"I would feel a lot better about things if we could repeat what we did earlier this year during this West Coast swing," Stevens said. "Winning's a lot more fun then losing."

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Series NHRA