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NHRA: Collins Team Cools Slightly on Day 2

14 November 1998

POMONA, Calif. - Clear blue skies provided a Chamber of Commerce day in Southern California Friday for the second round of professional qualifying for the 34th Annual Winston Finals. While the picture-perfect conditions helped the near-capacity crowd enjoy the surroundings, it did little for the Pro Stock cars racing on the track, most of whom couldn't duplicate the times they recorded during yesterday's cooler conditions. Both of the Team Collins machine's followed the same pattern as the majority of the cars in the class, posting competitive, albeit slower, times on Friday. The following information explains each driver's Round 2 pass.

Richie "The Kid" Stevens, the driver of the Collins Racing Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, posted a 6.971-second lap at 197.15 mph during the second session. His best run of the event is still the 6.935-second, 198.54-mph pass he carded in Round 1. Stevens currently occupies the fifth spot on the qualifying ladder.

"I'm surprised I wasn't quicker," Stevens said. "The car felt real decent all the way down the track. It was nice and straight, no problems. When (crew chief) Tommy (Utt) came to pick me up and told me I ran a 6.97 I was really surprised. He said I spun the tires a little at the starting line so I guess that's where I lost some time. I want to be perfect tomorrow morning. The car's solid and the conditions should allow us to go super fast."

Shawn Collins, the driver of the Collins Racing Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, failed to improve on his first round pass of 6.986 seconds at 197.10 mph. His Round 2 run saw him slow to 7.047 seconds at 196.16 mph due to the hot and greasy track. Collins also slipped two spots to the 17th qualifying position with two rounds of qualifying remaining.

"We have a slight problem with the car missing in fourth gear," Collins said. "I was running strong until I hit (fourth gear) and then she just fell flat on her face. We plan on changing the ignition system, fuel pump and crank trigger to try to correct the problem. We have to be fast tomorrow morning. That will be when the field is set. I'm excited because we have the left lane, which I think is better, and the car has been working well prior to this slight problem. We definitely need to leapfrog some people and put our car comfortably in the field. I like our chances."