Wally Dallenbach Likes Odds at Las Vegas

Dallenbach likes odds at LVMS LAS VEGAS (Feb. 25, 1999) Wally Dallenbach is riding a big wave of momentum into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' first Western swing -- for the March 7 Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He's buoyed by his...

Dallenbach likes odds at LVMS

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 25, 1999) Wally Dallenbach is riding a big wave of momentum into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' first Western swing -- for the March 7 Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He's buoyed by his career-best ninth place showing in the current point standings -- no matter that there have only been two races. But he also knows he had race cars in the Daytona 500 and the Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway that were even better than his 12th- and 17th-place finishes, respectively, indicated.

So he's hoping his "ace in the hole" pays off in the Hendrick Motorsports/Budweiser Chevrolet team's trip to the "City of Lights."

"We are taking 'Duke' out west, and like John Wayne, we plan to stand tall in the saddle," the No. 25 team's crew chief, Tony Furr, said of the aptly named Chevrolet Monte Carlo the Budweiser team will take to LVMS.

Dallenbach, the 35-year-old New Jersey native, says the jackpot is the limit in Vegas.

"The cars have been great the first two races," Dallenbach said. "We're really not happy with either finish because we thought we had a top-5 car at Daytona and a top-10 car at Rockingham, but circumstances kept us from finishing higher.

"Ninth in the point standings doesn't really mean much after two races. About 12 races from now if we're still there, then we'll start talking about it. We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing."

What the team has done is maximize its communication, its resources, its teamwork and its equipment. And that's why Furr, a 42-year-old veteran crew chief from Concord, N.C., likes what he's seen in the first two races and can't wait to invade Nevada.

"We feel real good about the car we're taking to Las Vegas," Furr said. "This car is aerodynamically-balanced, a real good car for a track like Las Vegas. You need a lot of downforce to run well at Vegas, and we feel real good about how this car will perform out west."

Furr says the key to running well at the 1.5-mile track is "finding a good balance. You've got to get through the corners in a manner where you can get back on the gas quickly. The setup is a lot more like Phoenix or Indy than Charlotte. Wally seems to run real well on flat tracks. That is another reason we feel good about Duke."

"I really love running at Las Vegas," Dallenbach said. "It is nice and wide and you can race side-by-side. It's a track where the tires don't give up quickly.

"Tony and I seem to have a real good feel for flat tracks. That is another reason why I am really looking forward to Las Vegas. I believe we can have a real good day out there."

For the first time in his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career, Dallenbach occupies a spot among the top-10 in the race for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship. Dallenbach knows his results bode well for the rest of 1999.

"We actually should have finished better in both races," says Dallenbach. "We had a legitimate shot at a top-5 at Daytona. The car was that good, but the last set of tires made the car too tight, and I wasn't able to run it wide open on the bottom like I had been.

"At Rockingham, for some reason, the car just wouldn't run on new tires. For the first 10-12 laps, I would get killed. Then they would start coming back to me. We passed a lot of cars, but all those yellows at the end killed us. We needed a long green at the end, 60-70 laps. If we had, we would have finished 11th or 12th.

"It's a good feeling to be in the top-10 in the points. Now we just need to stay there. It's so hard to make up points if you get off to a bad start. The guy who finished ninth last year averaged a 15th-place finish, so if we can just keep doing what we're doing, we've got a shot at staying up there."

Dallenbach's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte finished ninth in the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. For the year, Labonte's average finish was 16.5.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Terry Labonte
Teams Hendrick Motorsports