Memphis Team Valspar Report

Team Valspar takes runner-up spot MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 10) -- The alarm sounded one round too early on Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens and his dream weekend. For the fourth time this season the young pilot from New ...

Team Valspar takes runner-up spot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 10) -- The alarm sounded one round too early on Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens and his dream weekend. For the fourth time this season the young pilot from New Orleans reached the final round of a National Hot Rod Association event. This time, just as he has on three other occasions, the second-year pro had to settle for second place.

"It's almost like it hurts a little more when you get so close to a win and then don't get it," Stevens said. "Especially when you give the race away because of driver error."

After dismissing John Nobile, Steve Schmidt and Kurt Johnson, Stevens lined up against veteran Mike Edwards in the fourth and final round of the 12th annual AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. For the second race in a row, Edwards had the lesser car and needed help to win. And once again, he got it in the form of a cosmic reaction time at the starting line of .420 seconds against Stevens' .499-second launch. The Valspar car then attempted to track down Edwards, but despite a better elapsed time of 6.935 seconds at 197.22 mph behind Edwards' 6.976-second, 197.59-mph pass, the race was lost.

"What kills me is that (crew chief) Tommy Utt worked so hard and had this car set up perfectly," Stevens said. "We had an extra session to deal with so he had to get this car ready five times today. That's unbelievable. And then I turn around and let him down. We had this race and I should have won. But I didn't.

"I wish a big foot would come along and kick me in the butt. I deserve it.

"I know that by tomorrow we'll be happy to have earned all the points we get from a runner-up finish. But right now it doesn't feel so good. We did stay in fifth place in the Winston points and we stretched out from (former sixth place driver) Mark Pawuk and caught up a bunch to (fourth place driver) Jim Yates. But now Edwards is right behind us in sixth place. You can't rest for a minute in this class."

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Nobile , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Steve Schmidt , Mike Edwards