'Kid' dreams of dominating Dual

'Kid' dreams of dominating Dual ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 19) -- Despite carding back-to-back runner-up finishes on the National Hot Rod Association circuit over the last two events, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens hasn't given ...

'Kid' dreams of dominating Dual

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 19) -- Despite carding back-to-back runner-up finishes on the National Hot Rod Association circuit over the last two events, Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens hasn't given much thought to winning the title of the 30th Annual Mopar Parts Nationals. In fact, the event, which takes place Thursday through Sunday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, is only a distance second in the 20-year-olds mind.

His entire focus is on the event within the event -- the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Dual, an invitation-only race between the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers from the last 22 races.

"This is my first Dominator Dual and I almost can't believe that I'm in it," said Stevens, the sophomore driver of the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird. "I remember standing on the starting line last year, watching the racing going on and thinking that one day I'd be out there with them. Now here it is just one year later and I'm getting a chance to race.

"I'm really excited. It's like I've been nominated for some big award. I know that everyone in the Pro Stock class tries to get into the Dual because it's a sign that you're competitive at nearly every race. My crew hasn't stopped talking about this all year. They always check out the points to see where we are. They've worked awfully hard to get me into this thing and they deserve all the credit."

Stevens will open the Dual against Pennzoil driver Mike Thomas, who will have the advantage of lane choice due to his superior qualifying points total. "Mike and I just raced in Atlanta and he red-lit," Stevens said.

"So I know he'll be geared up for me this time because of that. Obviously, we know his car is fast. He rents motors to us so he knows what kind of power we have just like we know what he has. It should be a great race for the fans to watch. We'll be the first pair out so hopefully lane choice won't mean as much.

"If we get lucky and win this deal it would mean a lot to the Valspar team. First, it would be a big boost for the guys. Second, we could sure put the winnings ($50,000) to good use."

The New Orleans native has ascended to fourth place in the Winston championship points standings and had accumulated nine elimination round wins in 1999. Aside from success in the Dominator Dual, he hopes to do well in the regular event as well.

"If we do well in the Dual that should just carry right over to the regular race," Stevens said. "The Valspar Pontiac has been nearly flawless over the last few races and I don't see any reason to think it will drop off in Englishtown. We'll be ready to race, that's for sure."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas