S. WALLACE SCORES SECOND-STRAIGHT TOP-TEN IN HOMESTEAD
RWR Closes Out 2009 as Only NNS Team with Multiple Top-Ten Drivers
HOMESTEAD, FL (November 21, 2009)--Rusty Wallace Racing's Steve Wallace (No. 66 Chevrolet Impala SS) closed out both his 2009 season and his two-year run with Chevrolet in a big way Saturday night, in the 300-mile event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After starting from the 15th position, the young wheelman battled both a loose race car and a slow late-race pit stop to score an eighth-place finish in his final race with Chevrolet, before joining the Toyota camp for 2010. Wallace's finish in Homestead was the best of any non-Cup Series driver and marked his second-straight top-ten finish in the Nationwide Series.
With his top-ten effort in the season finale, Wallace was able to secure the seventh-place ranking in the final Nationwide Series drivers' standings, the best of his young career.
Said Wallace, "We battled a really, really loose race car all night. It finally started to come around about 20 laps into the run and was pretty fast, but it just took us too long to get going. I just had to hold on and go as hard as I could on that last restart and it worked out pretty well.
"Overall though, I think we had a pretty solid season and showed a lot of improvement . We really wanted to get up into the top-five in points and came pretty close. I feel like we definitely had the speed to do it, but we just had three or four bad weeks that killed us. I'd just like to thank Chevrolet and all of our 2009 sponsors for everything they did for our team. We couldn't have done it without their help.
"As of this second though, 2009 is over, and we have to focus 100 percent on 2010. I couldn't be more excited about our program for next year. With 5-Hour Energy and Toyota as our new full-time partners, I think we'll have a better shot than ever to contend for wins every week."
Meanwhile, Wallace's teammate, Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Chevrolet Impala SS), started the Homestead event from the tenth position--the best starting spot of any Nationwide Series regular--and closed out his 2009 season with an 11th-place finish. Gaughan's finish enabled him to capture the ninth-place ranking in the final drivers' standings.
With Gaughan's effort, RWR finished the 2009 Nationwide Series season as the only team with multiple drivers ranked among the top-ten in the final drivers' standings.
Noted Gaughan, "We had a pretty fast race car at times tonight, but there was a part of the race where we just got really loose. We managed to get our car dialed in a little bit better there at the end. I thought we might get a top-ten out of it, but we just ran out of time.
"Looking at the season as a whole, I'm really happy to have ended up with a top-ten in points during my first year in the series. We really wanted to win the Raybestos Rookie of the Year deal; I feel like our cars were generally fast enough to do it, but we were just too inconsistent at times throughout the year. I'd like to thank all of our 2009 partners for their support, especially Shane Martin and everyone at Chevrolet.
"I had a lot of fun running with Rusty and his team this season and like I've told them, I'd really like to return for next year. I think we're getting closer to making that happen, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of weeks."
Following a busy off-season of building Toyota Camry race cars, the next event for Rusty Wallace Racing will be the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 13.