Memphis Richie Stevens Weathers Lengthy Rain Delay

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 9) -- Last weekend excessively cold temperatures forced several changes and delays in the racing schedule. This weekend a deluge of rain is the culprit, forcing the outright cancellation of one qualifying session, moving the...

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 9) -- Last weekend excessively cold temperatures forced several changes and delays in the racing schedule. This weekend a deluge of rain is the culprit, forcing the outright cancellation of one qualifying session, moving the next two rounds from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening and driving one final session back to 10 a.m. CST Sunday morning. The first round of final eliminations will follow at 1 p.m.

After many false starts brought on by the rain, Team Valspar 21-year-old Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens finally finished the day in the No. 10 position after a late-night run of 7.005 seconds at 195.31 mph down Memphis Motorsports Park's quarter-mile.

"That was a nice straight run," Stevens said. "It started a little left but I was able to pull her right back. The Valspar car pulled real strong all the way through the lights except for about (snapping fingers) that long in third gear when the motor cut out. That really ate into my elapsed time. It did that in both rounds today. We better search for an answer."

Team Valspar crew chief Tommy Utt analyzed the data from the day's two rounds and believes he is close to finding the problem that has caused the car to stall twice in mid-run. "It's either a bad set of regulators or the fuel pump is shot," Utt said. "We will just replace the entire fuel system to make sure we solve the problem. We'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Stevens' first lap of the weekend came around 5:30 p.m. CST. Running in just the second pairing down the freshly washed track, Stevens struggled somewhat to find traction in the right-hand lane and only managed a 7.020-second pass at 196.04 mph. The numbers temporarily placed the New Orleans native in the 11th spot out of 32 cars entered.

"I was bouncing all over the track," Stevens said. "That was a wild ride. The tires were really spinning in second and third gear and it caused me to skip around so much that the Valspar car actually shut off for a split second. That really cut into our speed and time. It was just cold and green out there after all that rain. At least we got a read on the track conditions."

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Series NHRA