TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Mike Wallace used some adept fuel mileage plotting to score a victory on "Super Saturday" at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wallace ended a tense, 20-lap duel with ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Supercar Series rookie Harris DeVane by charging around the outside of DeVane's Ford when the Georgia driver's car ran out of fuel. Wallace himself ran out of gas when he reached the spoiler check station at the head of pit road.
The third round of the ARCA Series, which was spiced by 13 lead changes among eight drivers, was punctuated by an accident coming off turn four on lap 36 that involved no less than nine cars.
Drivers Henry Wallace of Prospect, Ky.; Randal Ritter of Franklin, Tenn.; and John Stradtman of Strongsville, Ohio; were transported to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Anniston for observation. Ritter and Stradtman were treated and released. Wallace was transported to Carraway Medical Center in Birmingham for further observation.
FOOD WORLD 500K FINISH: 1. Mike Wallace, Ford, 117 laps/312 miles in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 13 seconds; avg. speed 150.327; margin of victory 15 car lengths; 13 lead changes among eight drives; 4 caution flags for 20 laps. 2. Harris DeVane, Ford, 117; 3. Jeff Purvis, Chevrolet, 117; 4. Kevin Ray, Chevrolet, 117; 5. Mark Stahl, Ford, 117; 6. Andy Hillenburg, Chevrolet, 117; 7. Bobby Bowsher, Ford, 117; 8. Joel White, Chevrolet, 117; 9. Bob Schacht, Ford, 117; 10. Bob Hill, Chevrolet, 117; 11. Gary Bradberry, Chevrolet, 117; 12. Bobby Gerhart, Chevrolet, 116, 13. Blaise Alexander, Chevrolet, 113; 14. Delma Cowart, Ford, 113; 15. Ken Allen, Chevrolet, 111; 16. Frankie Spradlin, Chevrolet, 110; 17. Glenn Brewer, Chevrolet, 109; 18. Ron Burchette, Pontiac, 101; 19. Mike McNeese, Oldsmobile, 100; 20. Peter Gibbons, Chevrolet, 98 (engine); 21. Frank Kimmel, Pontiac, 91 (transmission); 22. Joey Sonntag, Ford, 72 (engine); 23. Mark Thompson, Ford, 64 (engine); 24. Gary Weinbroer, Oldsmobile, 55 (engine); 25. Wayne Larson, Chevrolet, 50 (overheating); 26. Dill Whittymore, Chevrolet, 47 (wheel bearing); 27. Jeff McClure, Chevrolet, 42 (engine); 28. Henry Wallace, Chevrolet, 35 (accident); 29. Rob Smith, Pontiac, 35 (accident); 30. Randal Ritter, Chevrolet, 35 (accident); 31. John Stradtman, Chevrolet, 34 (accident); 32. Dale Kreider, Chevrolet, 34 (accident); 33. Bob Dodds, Ford, 34 (accident); 34. Mark Gibson, Chrysler, 34 (accident); 35. John Todd, Ford, 34 (accident); 36. Andy Belmont, Ford, 32 (accident); 37. Billy Thomas, Chevrolet, 20 (engine); 38. Tom Lorenz, Chevrolet, 19 (engine); 39. Jimmy Horton, Chevrolet, 18 (engine); 40. Perry Tripp, Chevrolet, 11 (engine); 41. Tim Steele, Ford, 4 (accident); 42. Brad Smith, Pontiac, engine; 43. Doug Reid, Ford, 0 (engine).
FOOD WORLD 500K RACE NOTES
DOUG REID (#05 Long-Lewis Ford) -- The motor never came up to speed. I just tried to stay out of everyone's way. It's really disappointing to qualify on the outside pole and not come up to speed. It's tough being my first time here and in front of the home crowd. But I'll be back!
JIMMY HORTON (#52 AC-Delco Chevrolet) -- It wasn't our day. The engine just blew up. Now, I'm out of here. (Horton had to catch a flight in order to compete in a dirt Modified race tonight in New York State.)
TIM KOHUTH (crew chief #52 AC-Delco Chevrolet) -- We burned a piston -- as simple as that. We thought we broke a valve at first. We were just riding a bit (at the start), but from the start he said the motor didn't feel as good as it did all week. It's too bad. We were gonna be stout.
TIM STEELE (#16 HS Die & Engineering Ford) -- Sometimes I think it might have been better to stay home this weekend. There wasn't anything that went right for us. We blew engines and had lots of problems. We left here yesterday and went to Ernie Elliott's shop in Dawsonville (GA). We worked on the car and Ernie helped us with the engine until five this morning. We drove here and continued working. Our guys never gave up, but it's not been our day. I really want to thank Ernie for his help. The engine was the strongest I've ever had.
BILLY THOMAS (#22 Masterbuilt/JW Miller Chevrolet) -- We struggled all week with the engine and handling. Today, the engine gave up.
BOB DODDS (#09 Numerics Unlimited Ford) -- My spotter told me to make a move to avoid what was going on in front and I got tagged just as I did. There wasn't any place to go.
DALE KREIDER (#15 QMI Oil Treatment Chevrolet) -- I had all the other cars missed. Then, I saw the wall and tagged it. I dinged my ankle on the clutch pedal. There was a lot of smoke. You couldn't tell much of what was going on.
MARK GIBSON (#7 Atlas Copco Tools Chrysler) -- I got caught up in the accident right at the end of everything. I shouldn't have been in it. We've got enough damage that we'll have to replace the front clip. I looked across and saw the smoke, and I was out of it and slowing down.I got over to four, and a couple of cars just stood on the brakes when they didn't need to and got sideways. I ran into John Todd and that was it.
JOHN STRADTMAN (#57 BFI Recycle Now Chevrolet) -- I had nowhere to go. Somebody touched somebody else and they all started spinning. I had nowhere to go. My right shoulder's sore but I'm OK.
ROB SMITH (#19 F.D.I. Siding Supply Pontiac) -- I was running in a draft with the #91 (Henry Wallace) and something made him check up. I tagged him when he did that. We both got turned around and everything started to happen behind us.
MARK THOMPSON (#66 Phoenix Air Ford) -- I think under that last caution we picked up a piece of debris in the radiator. It never really overheated, but we started losing the motor. I think we just sort of ran out of water. It just weakened up on us. The car was working good. I don't think Purvis would've got around us if the motor hadn't weakened up.
BRAD SMITH (#06 Nealco/Wilson Engineering Pontiac) -- We got in our own oil and slid up into the wall. We believe the motor let go. I had already slowed down before I got into the oil, so it wasn't really a hard hit at all. There was just a little engine fire and we got out of it no problem.
FOOD WORLD 500K POST-RACE NOTES
MIKE WALLACE (#90 Klaussner Furniture Ford) -- (Wallace was pushed from the spoiler checking station to Victory Lane by his jubilant crew.) That was the slowest way to Victory Lane! Last lap, last corner, man -- what better way to win a race! We ran out of gas when we stopped at the spoiler check. It looked like everybody else ran out. I don't care how we get 'em, but we won it and that's all that matters. We didn't outlast them. To be honest, Barry (Owen, crew chief) called a heckuva shot. When we took the lead and the caution came out (at about lap 75), he said 'We cannot make it on fuel.' We came down and gas-and-go'ed. We got about a gallon-and-a-half of gas and everybody else ran out of gas! We've had some ups and downs, but we progressed -- we ran third at Daytona, second at Atlanta... We figured this was our weekend to win. I'll tell ya, Harris ran a heckuva race. He was just gettin' it because I was wide open for the last 20 laps of that race, when we chased down Jeff (Purvis) and Gary (Bradberry). Fortunately our crew did a little bit better job and out-guessed them on fuel mileage. (On last lap.) We went down into three and I thought he slowed. He DID slow because he was out of fuel. I was already moving high and I grazed him in the right rear, backed out and fortunately he WAS out of gas because I lost a lot of momentum. I couldn't have caught him if he hadn't run out. He had me beat.
BARRY OWEN (Crew Chief #90 Klaussner Furniture Ford) -- We didn't have the fastest car, so I knew there was no sense in running out of gas. I knew the other cars would be real close to running out so I knew the only shot we had was not to run out. (On the decision.) With the laps left we had to pick up 21.96 gallons out of a 22- gallon tank. We were gonna be a lap short any way you looked at it. We had nothing to lose. I own the Busch and ARCA teams, but we borrowed this car from Junie Donlavey's operation for this race.
HARRIS DeVANE (#33 Highland Timber Ford) -- We just tried to stretch it. We gambled and lost. We had enough for him at the end. Turn four of the last lap! I'm really excited. Ernie Elliott gave us a great engine and I'm really proud of my crew also. Mike and I ran good together. We ran better when he was following me. I don't think he wanted to lead. We ran a little tight at first and then it loosened up. Right at the end it was running great.
KEVIN RAY (#2 Mississippi Motorplex Chevrolet) -- I don't know where I finished, but it was great. I really can't believe that we did this good. We were just waiting to see what happened on those last laps. The car was great. I got a bit of tire rub on the other side. It wasn't anything. We were lucky to get around everything that happened out there. The team did a great job with the car. I'm just in awe right now. We didn't win the race, but we did do one heck of a job -- didn't we?
DONNIE ALLISON (Crew chief, #2 Mississippi Motorplex Chevrolet) -- Kevin ran a great race. The car wouldn't run down the straight. We needed for it to be a little more aerodynamic. It's a new car and we didn't have much time to work on it. He ran with them through the corners and did one heck of a job in the race.
MARK STAHL (#32 Stahl Race Engines Ford) -- The engine blubbered on the next to last lap. I ran out of gas just as we came through the trioval. I was trying to hold off Kevin Ray, but he found a place to go by. The engine wasn't running when I crossed the finish line. Kevin shot by me on the low side and I think Andy Hillenburg was about five feet short of putting me another place back. We topped it off on the last caution, but it wasn't quite enough. We got messed up on one pit stop and got behind. This older body style didn't work at the front, but once I found the right cars to follow we were ok.
JOEL WHITE (#49 Fellman-Young Chevrolet) -- We had a bit of a fuel pressure problem yesterday which we thought we fixed. We changed the pump and everything and it worked fine in the garage. Once we fired the engine up for the race the problem came back and we ran all day with low fuel pressure. I figure it cost us a bunch of horsepower. We're happy with eighth. I need to say thanks to Stanley Smith, who helped us out, and Red Oliver and Phillip Hamilton for all their work.
BOB SCHACHT (#35 Engineered Components Ford) -- The car just went away. It was fine for a while and then it progressively got looser and looser. We tried working with it, but it kept getting loose on me. It wasn't the setup we used in qualifying. I don't think we hit our race setup as good as we needed. Hey, we came back in one piece and it's still running.
BOB HILL (#46 Friskies/Clement Mack Chevrolet) -- (Ran out of gas on backstretch on last lap.) We came in and got a splash (of gas) and we thought we could make it. But I lost the draft and that cost me, I think. I used too much fuel running by myself for 20 laps. There was nothing I could do. I had it (gas pedal) down, but they inched away from me and caught them front two cars and that hurt us. It was another good race on a speedway but I'm disappointed because we could've had a top three finish. But it's in one piece so we'll go to the next one. Maybe we should have pulled in for a splash when Bradberry did. We figured we'd be close. It was and we missed the call.
JOHN RAY (team owner #2 Mississippi Motorplex Chevrolet) -- I've got to be the happiest dad in the world! Everybody done a good job. Donnie (Allison) done a good job spotting for him, told him what to do... I'm just so proud of everybody who had anything to do with this! On the last caution we came in and got a splash of gas. We knew we couldn't make it all the way. We put in about about four gallons. It was a helluva day!
ANDY HILLENBURG (#11 ALPS Total Systems Chevrolet) -- We knew we didn't have a car that could go out and dominate so we just took our time and did what we had to do. Basically, we wanted to hang in there and, hopefully, get in there in one of those charge to the line finishes. We couldn't pull out and pass anyone. We had a good engine, but we were racing a high downforce car and it just didn't work for us. We'll take sixth. We've got a win at Daytona, a fifth and a sixth in three races. We feel good. We knew going in we were a fifth or sixth place car.
GARY BRADBERRY (#78 Big B Drugs/Cool Ray Chevrolet) -- It's a heartbreaker. I just couldn't believe it. We knew we would be close on fuel and probably run out when we did. Sure enough, it started sputtering when we figured it would. I made one more lap and that's when I came in. I never thought for a minute that the rest of them could run all the way. I guess I was wrong. We didn't have any choice. I had to come in. We were getting good mileage. They were getting better mileage. Maybe next time.
JEFF PURVIS (#1 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet) -- I lost a cylinder right at lap 100. At that time, the car was as good as it had been all day. I was trying to save my fuel. If the motor had stayed together, we couldn't have been caught. Then (after cylinder problem), I couldn't even run with the lapped cars! Did I learn anything today for tomorrow? I learned that you lose about a second a lap when you lose a cylinder...No, I've raced here so many times that I didn't learn anything new.