Team Valspar winds up second Stevens elated by national record and 200-mph performance RICHMOND, Va. (May 3) -- It was almost a perfect weekend for Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens. The 20-year-old from New Orleans seemingly did it all...
Team Valspar winds up second Stevens elated by national record and 200-mph performance
RICHMOND, Va. (May 3) -- It was almost a perfect weekend for Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens. The 20-year-old from New Orleans seemingly did it all at the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Ultimately, the only thing missing was a win.
Stevens' list of accomplishments from his extended weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park is impressive. During qualifying he scorched the quarter-mile strip quicker than anyone had before, posting a 6.861-second lap at 200.08 mph in his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird to capture the National Hot Rod Association all-time record. He went on to finish the four qualifying sessions in the No. 3 position, becoming part of NHRA history once more as a significant part of the quickest Pro Stock field ever assembled. The lightening-fast run also earned him the eighth spot in the exclusive Speed-Pro 200-MPH Pro Stock Club.
When Race Day started, Stevens was on his game again. He started Sunday's action by powering by Greg Anderson with a lap of 6.912 seconds at 198.73 mph to Anderson's 6.958-second pass at 199.08 mph. At that point, the entire elimination session was put on hold due to persistent rain showers with race organizers postponing action until Monday morning.
The delay didn't affect Stevens, who remained cool enough to better two-time runner-up Mike Edwards when the quarterfinals resumed under Monday's clear skies. In that round, Stevens posted a 6.926-second lap at 198.03 mph to Edwards' 6.958-second pass at 198.79. Showing consistency with his powerful Finish Line Racing Engine, Stevens posted another solid lap -- at 6.917-seconds and 198.61 mph -- in a semifinal win over John Nobile.
Then came the finals where Stevens faced his good friend Allen Johnson, who was on a roll of his own having just knocked off current Winston points leader Kurt Johnson to earn his berth in the finals. The race between the two friends ended up being the best of the day with Johnson using a slight hole-shot start, 0.433 seconds to Stevens' 0.452-second launch, to take the win by less than a foot. The final numbers saw Johnson trip the timers in 6.970 seconds at 198.17 mph with Stevens close behind at 6.960 seconds at 198.20 mph.
"That was probably the closest side-by-side race I've ever been a part of," Stevens said. "After talking with Allen after the race it sounds like our cars were identical all the way through. I wish I had won but I'm happy for him. After that wreck he had in Gainesville it's great to see him rebound like this. I'd rather lose to him than anyone else.
"The weekend was a total success in my book, just without the final win light we needed. The crew got me the 200-MPH Club and we held the national record for awhile until Warren Johnson took it back. Everything went great for the Valspar team. Look out Atlanta."