The Smell of Midnight Oil Burning Square D Racing Team Rebuilds Car Wrecked at Dover in Time for Michigan Race FLAT ROCK, N.C., (June 11, 1999) - The smell of burning oil has been emanating from 1100 Upward Road all week. But it was...
The Smell of Midnight Oil Burning
Square D Racing Team Rebuilds Car Wrecked at Dover in Time for Michigan Race
FLAT ROCK, N.C., (June 11, 1999) - The smell of burning oil has been emanating from 1100 Upward Road all week. But it was neither engine nor gear oil burning at the Square D Racing shop of Andy Petree Racing (APR). Instead it was midnight oil - a lot of it. Ever since chassis No. 9930 returned from Dover (Del.) early Monday morning, APR crew members have been busy fixing the Square D Chevrolet that performed so well for Kenny Wallace in the June 6 MBNA Platinum 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. It was one of the most competitive outings for APR. Wallace started the 400-mile event at Dover's "Monster Mile" from the fourth spot, and ran no lower than seventh - until lap 289. Coming out of turn two, Wallace glanced off the backstretch wall and made contact with the Ford of Jeremy Mayfield. The Square D Chevy backed hard into the inside retaining wall, badly damaging the Monte Carlo's rear clip. What had debuted as a brand new race car, looked like a mangled mess. But looks can be deceiving. "Jerry Painter, the head body man, and Tim Roberts, our chassis builder - those two were standing at the door when I got here Monday morning," said Jimmy Elledge, crew chief on the Square D Chevrolet. "They both looked at me when we unloaded it, and Tim said, 'I don't think it's that bad.' Jerry said, 'If you want us to turn it, we'll turn it. It's up to you.' "I said to them, 'It's up to you guys. You're going to have to do the bulk of the work.' They said, 'Hey, that's the best run we've had. If you want to turn that car around and run it at Michigan, we'll do it.'" And so they did. Beginning Monday at 7:30 a.m., work began. All the broken parts and twisted metal were cut from the car. From there it was sent to the team's fabrication shop. It arrived there at noon, and a damage assessment was made. "We decided it was just going to take a rear clip and some body pieces," said Elledge. "Nothing else was bent, so that's when we made the decision that we were going to fix it and race it this weekend." By 5 p.m., the metal work was done. The rear frame section, including the wheel tubs and the battery boxes had been replaced. At 5:30 p.m., the car was rolled to the body jig, where the crew worked on it until 11 p.m. before calling it a night. Tuesday at 5 a.m., the fabrication team went to work. By 3:30 p.m., chassis No. 9930 had new quarterpanels, a new decklid and a new bumper. The car was then cleaned before body filler was applied. The inside was painted gray, while Square D's signature blue and yellow paint adorned the outside. At 2:30 a.m., the car was finished being painted. When the guys arrived to the shop at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the car was on jackstands ready to be prepped for Sunday's Kmart 400 at Michigan International Speedway. At 2 p.m., Elledge and Co. went to work on the car's setup. By 9 p.m., they were done. Twelve hours later, the car was on the chassis dyno. After a successful run, a coat of wax was applied along the contours of the No. 55 Monte Carlo. At 12:15 p.m., it was loaded onto the team's hauler. Transporter driver Bart Creasman hit the road at 12:30 p.m., and set his sights on Brooklyn, Mich. Elledge estimates that over the course of three-and-a-half days, 65 man hours were spent rebuilding the car. "It was a brand new car at Dover," said Elledge, "but it was intended to run at Charlotte. When we tested at Charlotte, we really weren't that impressed with it. We figured it was a tighter race car, so we took it to Dover, where it stood out in our fleet as a superior race car. It was fast off the truck, qualified well and raced well. Probably one of the best race cars we've had during a long run. "We felt like everything was at an all-time high until lap 289, then it hit rock bottom. But Kenny was really comfortable with the car. He definitely liked it. Traditionally, Michigan has not been a good place for him. So, we figured we'd take back his best car for him. That's why we dug deep and decided to fix it." Square D Company is a market-leading supplier of electrical distribution, industrial control and automation products, systems and services. It is the flagship brand of the North American Division of Schneider Electric, headquartered in Paris, France. Schneider Electric is a global electrical industry leader with 1998 sales of approximately $8.7 billion.