Pomona Team Collins Thursday notes

Team Collins off to a great start POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- Wrapping up a stellar rookie season, the two-car Collins Racing team attacked the track at Pomona Raceway Thursday afternoon, placing both cars in the field of professional driver's...

Team Collins off to a great start

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- Wrapping up a stellar rookie season, the two-car Collins Racing team attacked the track at Pomona Raceway Thursday afternoon, placing both cars in the field of professional driver's who have temporarily qualified for the 34th Annual Winston Finals. The team's cavalier attitude at this race is derived from the confidence they feel racing on a track where they have accumulated data prior to the start of qualifying, having competed here before at the Winternationals in January.

The following recap encapsulates each driver's opening lap.

Richie "The Kid" Stevens, the driver of the Collins Racing Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, impressed everyone in attendance when he blazed down the quarter-mile strip in 6.935 seconds at 198.54 mph. The quick time placed Stevens comfortably in the No. 4 spot through one round of qualifying.

"The car felt great," Stevens said. "That was a nice straight run and it feels good to be near the top of the field. It takes a lot of pressure off when you start fast like this. Plus, it allows you to focus more on cutting a good light (reaction time) and staying in the groove during the other rounds. When you're this high up on the ladder you don't have that feeling like you need to be perfect on your next run to make the field. It's a relief.

"I could have been quicker but I left the cover on the shift light and had to shift by sound. I ended up missing each gear a little, which means my time might have been better if I had been able to use the shift light. It was a dumb mistake on my part."

Shawn Collins, the driver of the Collins Racing Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, broke the seven-second barrier and successfully put his car into the 16-car field of qualified drivers by carding a steady 6.986-second, 197.10-mph pass. Collins finished the first round as the 15th qualifier.

"The crew has done a fantastic job getting both of these cars ready," Collins said. "I'm pleased with my run but I doubt if it will keep us in the field through Sunday. We'll have to tweak some things to get us going a little faster. I really think the car has a faster time in it. I hit second gear a little early, which cut into my elapsed time and the car moved around some in fourth which also slowed us down some. We'll be fine. This was a great start for our team. We're excited."

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Series NHRA