Square D Racing Review/Preview CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 17, 1999) - As the sun faded behind turn three of Richmond (Va.) International Raceway last Saturday night, so too did the fortunes of Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace. Earlier in...
Square D Racing Review/Preview
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 17, 1999) - As the sun faded behind turn three of Richmond (Va.) International Raceway last Saturday night, so too did the fortunes of Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace.
Earlier in the day, Wallace missed the pole for the Pontiac Excitement 400 by just 5/1,000ths of a second to reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Wallace was happy with his second place qualifying effort, but disappointed that he came so close to knocking Gordon off the pole.
That disappointment, however, paled in comparison to the disappointment Wallace felt later in the evening when he yelled, "I blew up!" over the radio on lap 181.
"About lap 30 I noticed the motor was kind of slowing up," said Wallace, who finished 41st. "It just started moaning the whole race and then it finally seized. It's a shame. We really were better than what we looked."
* * * All-out or laid-back? One car or two separate cars? These are the questions teams ask themselves when preparing for The Winston, or in the case of the Square D Racing Team, The Winston Open.
For Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D Chevrolet, these questions are already answered.
"When you go into the first Charlotte week, you're kind of bummed-out that you're not in The Winston," said Wallace. "So, you're approach is, 'Hey, let's win this thing so that we can get into The Winston.' It's just plain and simple. We're there to win. This is the one race where I say that we're going to win, because that's all that really matters in this scenario.
"But I'm not going to take big risks in The Winston Open for the fact that the gain is minimal. Now, if I were in The Winston, I would take risks. It's for a lot of money and it's a very prideful event - puts a big feather in your cap if you win.
"But I've got to look at the big picture," continued Wallace. "I'd rather win a Winston Cup race to be in The Winston. It's not my goal to win The Winston Open every year so I can be in The Winston. My goal is to win a Winston Cup race so that I'm always in The Winston."
While The Winston and The Winston Open are both non-points races, they are still important events. Teams use the track time as a test session for the next stop on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series - the May 30 Coca-Cola 600. As a result, some teams use the same car in The Winston and The Winston Open that they plan to use in the Coca-Cola 600. Other teams use two separate cars, saving their better car for the Coke race.
"We don't go into The Winston Open thinking we're going to wreck," said Wallace. "We're going there with the same car we plan to run in the 600. The only time we would change cars is if it didn't perform the way we wanted it to. We'll take our best stuff to The Winston Open."
Kenny Wallace's The Winston Open Performance Profile ------------- Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1998 The Winston Open 19 15 Running/50 $10,296 1997 The Winston Open 23 23 Running/50 $2,200 1996 The Winston Open 13 11 Running/50 $6,100 1993 The Winston Open 17 22 Running/50 $2,300 1991 *The Winston 17 17 Running/69 $18,000 1990 The Winston Open 24 17 Running/133 $3,500
* Wallace's only appearance in The Winston came when he drove a Felix Sabates-owned Pontiac while substituting for an injured Kyle Petty.