Houston Valspar Saturday Report

Back-up Valspar car shoots to the forefront HOUSTON (Oct. 30) -- A Valspar Refinish car stole much of the attention during a rain-soaked day of professional qualifying at the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals -- but it wasn't the one driven...

Back-up Valspar car shoots to the forefront

HOUSTON (Oct. 30) -- A Valspar Refinish car stole much of the attention during a rain-soaked day of professional qualifying at the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals -- but it wasn't the one driven by Richie "The Kid" Stevens. Instead, Pro Stock veteran Don Beverly, who was driving Stevens' back-up car for just the second time this season, ran the second-best pass of the weekend, a stunning 6.885-second lap at 198.85 mph.

Beverly, a three-time national event winner and former architect and owner of Virginia Motorsports Park, has not qualified for a national event since the Phoenix race in 1995. He is driving the back-up Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird in an effort get it "race ready" for Stevens' 2000 campaign.

"This is such a new car that we never had found the right clutch combination until now," Beverly said. "Tom Lee is here helping us set this car up and he dialed it in perfectly for that session. The conditions were great and the car ran exceptionally well. I hope we can knock out some of the guys that are chasing Richie in the Winston championship points standings. Then we would have fulfilled our goals for the weekend."

Stevens went straight down the strip in Round 3, recording a stout 6.912-second pass at 198.20 mph. It turned out to be his best pass of the weekend and earned him the No. 10 spot on the elimination ladder. "That was the cleanest run I've made in a long time," Stevens said. "The Valspar car never shook or never spun the tires the whole way down the track. It was straight as an arrow. I could have had the steering wheel in my lap it was that smooth.

"We needed that because the way the weather was we didn't know what to expect in Round 4. Mr. Beverly picked up a lot of valuable info that round and I think it's great for him and (daughter) Carrie to be having so much fun.

"The entire Valspar crew is really happy right now. Any time you get in the field it's a good thing. Getting both cars in is huge. When the field is as quick as this one is (with the last qualifier at 6.925 seconds) it's says a lot about how strong these Valspar cars are running."

ESPN2 will air qualifying highlights from 9:30-10:30 p.m. tonight and will repeat them from 12:30-1:30 a.m. First-round coverage begins Sunday at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and final round action will be shown from 7-8 p.m. All times shown are CDT.

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Series NHRA