K. Wallace Pumped Up For Homestead After Great Weekend At The Rock HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Coming off the most successful weekend in his racing career, Kenny Wallace gears up for the Pennzoil Freedom 400, seeking to bring the primary sponsor of the...
K. Wallace Pumped Up For Homestead After Great Weekend At The Rock
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Coming off the most successful weekend in his racing career, Kenny Wallace gears up for the Pennzoil Freedom 400, seeking to bring the primary sponsor of the #1 Chevrolet a victory after Steve Park sat on the pole for the same race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year, establishing a new track record by circuiting the 1.5-mile oval in 34.518 seconds with a speed of 156.440 mph.
"If finishing second was as bad as I did all weekend, that's a pretty incredible weekend," said a jubilated Wallace after winning the Busch race and finishing second in the Winston Cup race last weekend at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. "The Pennzoil Chevrolet ran extremely strong all day but we just got beat. I'm thrilled to death.
"And we want to build upon that success we felt last weekend," said Wallace. "There is no reason for us not to produce the same results this weekend at Homestead. Like they say, success just breeds more success and I enjoy Homestead. It's a completely different atmosphere being by the ocean. I really enjoy it."
Starting in his 10th event in replacement of injured Park, Wallace has moved the DEI group back into the 11th position in owner points. A feat accomplished by posting two top-10 finishes in the last three races and 11th at Phoenix. Since taking over the seat in the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet, Wallace has completed 93 percent of the laps raced since Darlington. Without the overheating problem at Darlington, his completion rate jumps to 99.68 percent. He also has raced to an average finish of 16.3 with an average starting spot of 14.5.
"Kenny has really stepped in and worked well with us and, as the weekends pass, we learn more," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "We tested in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago to give us more time to work with Kenny on a flat track. He is very similar to Steve (Park) as to what he needs in the race car but we continue to learn -- both of us do."
Taking a different car to Homestead that Park competed in last season, Wallace will pilot the Monte Carlo that he raced previously at Kansas City where an untimely caution that put him one lap down and, although he was faster than the leaders at times, he finished in the 17th position. It is also the same car taken to the test at Kentucky.
"Using a test at Kentucky helped but it's the information that Dale Jr. brought back from his Homestead test that will help us the most since the tracks aren't that similar -- we really used our time (in Kentucky) to learn what Kenny prefers," said Andrews. "The #8 car test showed that the tires definitely slowed the times down. We are going to start where they ended the test and make changes from there. It will be a little different since you don't test with a qualifying motor. Think we can get a good handle on it to get in a good qualifying run and hopefully repeat the success we had last year."
If Wallace should happen to win back-to-back Bud Pole Awards, it would be the first time that has been accomplished since Dale Jarrett back in March sat on the front row for the races in Las Vegas and Atlanta.
"The flat tracks are the type of tracks where you can slide the car very easily," said Wallace of Homestead where banking in the corners is a mere 6 degrees. "What you're trying to do is to obtain a lot of grip in the car. You're trying to make the car stick. If other people are sliding and you're sticking, you're going forward and that's the whole objective. I've been in cars that have done a good job there. In the first (Busch) race there in '96, we were leading on the last lap and Larry Pearson ran into Hermie Sadler and he hit me and that caused a big old wreck. Dale Jarrett, who was running fourth, just went on to victory.
"Wouldn't it be great if I could earn my first Winston Cup win during the same race Pennzoil is the title sponsor," concluded Wallace. "I've been given a great opportunity to drive in the Pennzoil car, and what better way to show my appreciation to DEI and Pennzoil by coming away from Homestead with a victory." <pre> Pennzoil Team Homestead-Miami Speedway Performance Record
Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 Pennzoil 400 1 8 266/267 Running $70,375 1999 Pennzoil 400 22 19 265/267 Running 45,240
Kenny Wallace Homestead-Miami Speedway Winston Cup Performance Record
Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 Pennzoil 400 42 24 264/267 Running $49,900 1999 Pennzoil 400 19 15 266/267 Running 47,100