CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Sept. 9, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, is known for finishing strong in NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, and the St. Louis native backed that reputation up by posting a 14th place finish...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Sept. 9, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, is known for finishing strong in NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, and the St. Louis native backed that reputation up by posting a 14th place finish in Saturday night's Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
After falling to 31st place early in the race, the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy made up 17 spots in just 105 laps around the .75-mile oval. The move bounced Wallace into 14th place, a position he held until the finish of the 400-lap event.
"We had a great motor Saturday night," said Wallace. "That thing would really run. It's what kept us in the top-15. We were a little tight coming off the middle of the turns, and we needed a 16th of an inch smaller sway bar or we would've remained on the lead lap. That's just how competitive this sport is. That 16th of an inch was the difference between a top-10 and a top-15."
NASCAR Winston Cup Series officials announced Fri., Sept. 8, that mandatory restrictor plates would be used in Sunday's Dura Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Winston Cup teams will use a metal plate with one-inch holes under the carburetor to restrict the amount of gas and air intake into their race motors. These restrictor plates are currently being used only on superspeedways at Daytona (Fla.) and Talladega (Ala.).
With just one week to prepare for Sunday's race, Jimmy Elledge, crew chief of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, doesn't know what to expect this weekend for driver Kenny Wallace and the rest of the Square D Racing Team.
"Everybody in the grandstands will have as much experience with Loudon and restrictor plates as I do," said Elledge. "We don't know what it's going to be like. What I do know is that our transport driver is going to be overweight with all the gears we're going to take from the shop. There are just so many things that we don't know yet, so it's hard to speculate how we will adapt to the rule change. I'm guessing that with less power, we're going to free up the race car. But that's just a guess. I won't know until we practice on Friday. The only thing I can count on is that the race cars are going to run slower and the motors won't run as hard.
"You have to go up there with a positive attitude," added Elledge. "You approach it as an opportunity to do something different that other teams haven't thought of yet. I never liked my original Loudon setup because it didn't run well after 150 laps. Who knows, maybe now that setup will perform for the entire race. We're just going up there to do our best and see what happens."
The rule for the Dura Lube 300 was implemented by NASCAR to address recent safety issues at NHIS where crashes during practice took the lives of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin this season. The result of the rule change will slow down the speeds of Winston Cup race cars approximately 10 mph. While restrictor plates aren't Elledge's first choice to solve the problem, the crew chief does applaud NASCAR looking out for the safety of Winston Cup drivers.
"It was apparent that NASCAR had to do something for this race," said Elledge. "They were feeling pressure from the drivers, owners and fans. I'm not a big supporter of restrictor plates. If I had to make that decision for NASCAR, that wouldn't be my first choice. The good thing about our governing body (NASCAR officials) is that they're trying to fix the problem. If this rule change doesn't work, they'll find something that does. I don't think they'll say, 'we're running a one-inch restrictor plate forever and that's final.' They've been flexible in the past. We just have to approach this weekend with an open mind."