CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 29, 2000) -- Saturday night short track racing at = Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway provided NASCAR Winston Cup Series stars = the opportunity to return to their roots, and for Square D/Cooper = Lighting driver Kenny Wallace,...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 29, 2000) -- Saturday night short track racing at = Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway provided NASCAR Winston Cup Series stars = the opportunity to return to their roots, and for Square D/Cooper = Lighting driver Kenny Wallace, battle a contest of the fittest in the = goracing.com 500.
Wallace secured the 24th starting position for the grueling event on = Friday evening, and ran the fastest lap times of all the competitors in = Saturday's final practice. But an ill-handling race car and a bad set of = tires contributed to a disappointing evening for the Square D/Cooper = Lighting squad.
"Our run was not up to our expectations," Wallace said. "We've done real = well here in the past, and we expected to run well again. The car was = tight all night but we made some changes and thought we'd be = competitive. But we got a bad set of tires that didn't match our car and = lost a lap. We survived the night, but we expected to finish between = 15th and 18th."
A hot topic this week amongst NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams is how = will the new Goodyear tires perform in Sunday's Pepsi Southern 500 at = Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. While the tire has received mixed reviews = from several Winston Cup squads, Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square = D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, believes the subject is moot when preparing = for the "Track Too Tough to Tame."=20
"I don't care what tire you bring to Darlington, the track is going to = be hard on the rubber," said Wallace. "Any race track on the East Coast = (Darlington and Rockingham, N.C.), because it's located near the ocean, = is going to have asphalt with a lot of grit. The track surface at those = venues will really tear the tires up. After we get 20 laps on any set of = tires, all this hoopla won't matter. We'll still be slipping and = sliding."
While Wallace appreciates any effort to increase the speed and = durability of his Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, his racing team = will focus on more than just the new Goodyear compound.
"This Darlington track demands a good chassis setup and use of all four = tires equally," added Wallace. "The tire bill will be expensive this = week. This weekend at the Pepsi Southern 500, we'll probably go through = a dozen sets of tires. There's just nothing we can do because everyone = is running hard all day long. The only things that will help is a strong = chassis setup and wearing down all four tires evenly throughout the = race."
Although engine woes regulated Wallace to a 35th place finish in this = year's TranSouth Financial 400, the St. Louis native is very upbeat for = Sunday's race. He believes his race car was better than where it = finished last March. With three career top-10s to his credit at the = Darlington Raceway, Wallace believes he will have a positive showing at = 1.366-mile oval.=20
"The last time at Darlington, we were running strong," said Wallace. = "What hurt us was a motor problem, but since then we've solved the motor = dilemma and we're stronger in that department. With that said, I'm = looking forward to returning to Darlington. It's one of my favorite = tracks. The Pepsi Southern 500 is a legendary race that has been around = for a long time. I've had some success there in 1998 when I finished = with two top-10s. It's a challenging race track, but I like challenges.
"It's called the 'Track Too Tough to Tame' for a reason," continued = Wallace. "A wall will jump up and get you at any time. You have to know = what you're up against. It's very slippery and we run a foot from the = wall. That's a dangerous combination."