HOUSTON (Oct. 31) -- A promising day of drag racing for Team Valspar ended in the opening round of elimination racing at the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions. At the start of the day, two Valspar Refinish...
HOUSTON (Oct. 31) -- A promising day of drag racing for Team Valspar ended in the opening round of elimination racing at the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions. At the start of the day, two Valspar Refinish machines were part of the near-record 16-car elimination field. But by the time the group was pared down to eight cars, both Richie "The Kid" Stevens and Don Beverly were on the sidelines.
Stevens and Beverly had posted impressive laps in qualifying. Stevens had nailed down the No. 10 position with a 6.912-second lap at 198.20 mph and Beverly had zoomed into the limelight with a career-best 6.885-second pass at 198.85 mph to take the No. 2 spot in Stevens' back-up car.
Sunday opened with Stevens squaring off against Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk and Beverly lining up with Jeg Coughlin. Unfortunately, both men were beaten by their counterparts. Stevens ran a competitive 6.872-second lap at 199.85 mph but was outrun by Pawuk's 6.857-second, 200.86-mph pass. Beverly, meanwhile, ran a 6.883-second pass at 199.88 mph behind Coughlin's 6.857-second run at 200.86 mph.
"That was a pretty good lap for us," Stevens said. "The Valspar car spun just a tad at the starting line but then it went straight down the lane. I hit the shift points and (crew chief) Tommy (Utt) had the car set-up right. He just left on me (.467 seconds to .480 seconds) and then slowly inched away.
"If I had hit one of my usual lights (starting line reaction time) I could have easily won this race. I just can't get a good light. It's just not me. I hate this feeling.
"We had a nice weekend for Valspar. Getting two cars into this field is a big accomplishment. I wish we could have won some rounds today."
Stevens remains in fifth place in the Winston championship points standings. There is one race remaining on the 1999 schedule, the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, which take place Nov. 11-14 in Pomona Calif.