Sonoma Richie Steven Friday Notes

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 6) -- Even though he's not old enough to partake in Sonoma Counties biggest byproduct, 20-year-old Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens is doing his best to enjoy his weekend in the Wine Country. Stevens, who pilots...

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 6) -- Even though he's not old enough to partake in Sonoma Counties biggest byproduct, 20-year-old Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens is doing his best to enjoy his weekend in the Wine Country.

Stevens, who pilots the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, finished the opening day of qualifying for the 12th Annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in the No. 5 spot in the field after a stellar Friday night pass of 6.963 seconds at 197.71 mph.

"That was awesome baby," Stevens said. "Totally awesome. It feels great to put a lap like that up there. It's been awhile since we've had that strong of a pass in relation to what everyone else is doing. It's so cool to be up near the top of the field again.

"The last four or five races have really been a bummer for us. We've been struggling for sure. But it's easy to feel good after running a lap like that one we just had. We are in the field solid now and we can really go for it tomorrow. There is so much more you can do when you're not out there fighting just to make the field.

"There are some great cars behind us in the ladder and I expect several of them to run quick tomorrow. But there's no reason to think we won't be right there with them. Everyone is pointing to that morning session. It's supposed to be nice and cool so we should all be quicker than we were tonight. I know that we have a little room to go faster so I'm excited about our chances."

Like most of his Pro Stock counterparts, Stevens struggled in the day's rain-delayed opening session, posting the round's 17th best mark - 7.074 seconds at 196.59 mph. "The tires shook all the way down the track," Stevens said. "I probably should have shut her down because the track was just way off after that rain shower. It's hard enough to get a read on the track in the first session let alone right after the rain washes it clean."

Stevens, a native of New Orleans, will have two more chances to improve on his posted time. Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Series NHRA