Topeka Richie Stevens Day 1 Review

Stevens excels in Day 1 action TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 1) -- Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens spent the opening day of professional qualifying for the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka successfully positioning...

Stevens excels in Day 1 action

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 1) -- Pro Stock driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens spent the opening day of professional qualifying for the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka successfully positioning his Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird for Sunday's elimination racing. Stevens closed the day's action with a steady pass of 6.949 seconds at 197.08 mph, which places him comfortably in the ninth position on the qualifying ladder.

"That was a nice smooth run," Stevens said. "Maybe too smooth. Hey, we're in solidly right now and that was our goal for today. What's really nice is that we ran quick in both lanes today. Not everyone out here can say that. It makes it easier to relax tonight knowing that our car can handle either side of this track. Obviously, everyone picked up their performance in Round 2 and I'm glad we held our own.

"I feel like we could have been maybe a hundredth of a second or two quicker so we have something to shoot for in the morning. I don't see the field changing too much from this point forward but you never know. It'd be nice to step up just a tad and get into the top half of the field but the way this Valspar car is running right now, it really doesn't matter much.

"We might tweak her out tomorrow morning to see if we can find something. That's the nice part of running well on Friday, you can play around a bit on Saturday and look for ways to make your car better."

Stevens excelled from the start of qualifying today, logging a 7.006-second lap at 195.73 mph in the opening session to grab the No. 6 spot initially. "That was a real nice first pass to make," Stevens said. "Overall, it was just a decent run. But as a first run, it was nice to be that quick in relation to the rest of the field. When you run like that right out of the trailer you already know you have a strong baseline tune-up to work from. It removes a lot of the guessing."

Catch all the qualifying highlights from 8-9 p.m. EST Saturday on Speedvision. Then tune in to Speedvision again from 2-4 p.m. EST Sunday for two hours of opening-round coverage. FOX Sports will then carry Sunday's final two hours of elimination action from 5-7 p.m. EST.

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Series NHRA