Phoenix Richie ''The Kid'' Stevens Post Race Report

PHOENIX (Feb. 27) -- After a confidence-boosting performance on the final day of qualifying when he shot to the top of the field in Round 4, Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens came back down to Earth on Race Day with a ...

PHOENIX (Feb. 27) -- After a confidence-boosting performance on the final day of qualifying when he shot to the top of the field in Round 4, Valspar Refinish Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens came back down to Earth on Race Day with a disappointing first-round loss to Greg Anderson.

Stevens, 21, had the superior car, but lost the race at the starting line when Anderson used a stellar 0.422-second reaction time to steal away the win. Stevens left the line in a lackluster 0.487 seconds. [Note: A 0.400-second start is perfect.]

The race was actually a statistical tie, which means it was decided by less than one-thousandths of a second. The final numbers saw Stevens cross in 6.975 seconds at 197.25 mph against Anderson's 7.040-second lap at 195.59 mph.

"I gave him the race," Stevens said. "I had more horsepower. I mean I was catching up to him quickly, but he just had too much of a lead. If the race had gone another couple of inches I would have won. Blame the driver for this loss.

"I feel terrible for the team. Tommy [Utt, crew chief], John [Utt], and my dad had this Valspar car in top shape ready to go. Warren Johnson had given us plenty of power. I just blew it at the line. I don't know why. I did everything the same but it just didn't work. I even worked on my starts in qualifying and they were all good. It just wasn't my day."

Stevens fell from eighth to 11th place in the Winston championship points standings but he did keep alive the second longest streak of consecutive races, which is now at 22 events. The next race for Team Valspar is the Mac Tools Gatornationals on March 16-19 at Gainesville Raceway in Florida.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson