Homestead: Steve Wallace preview

* Points Race Continues: The Nationwide Series championship has already been locked up by Brad Keselowski, but the battle inside the top 10 is a hot one. 5-Hour Energy Racing's Steve Wallace is ninth, but he's only 65 points behind seventh-place...

* Points Race Continues: The Nationwide Series championship has already been locked up by Brad Keselowski, but the battle inside the top 10 is a hot one. 5-Hour Energy Racing's Steve Wallace is ninth, but he's only 65 points behind seventh-place Joey Logano and 64 behind eighth-place Trevor Bayne. Wallace will finish somewhere in the top 10, as he's 197 points ahead of teammate and 11th-place Brendan Gaughan.

* The Machine: Steve Wallace's primary car for this weekend is RWR-036. Car 36 last ran at Bristol Motor Speedway. The team hung a new body on the car in order for it to run this weekend at Homestead.

The current NASCAR Nationwide Series car will run for the final time this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Does that mean the race will be a free-for-all?

No, says Rusty Wallace Racing driver Steve Wallace and his crew chief, Scott McDougall.

"There are a lot of guys who are anxious to get this season over," Wallace said. "It's been an up-and-down year for me. I think you'll see a lot of hard racing, but I don't think you'll see anything out of the ordinary."

Instead, McDougall said this is another race for the No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota team to score another good finish -- not "checkers or wreckers."

"That might not be the case for some of the drivers that we'll be racing against this weekend," McDougall said. "But for us, it's just another race to put your best foot forward."

Wallace is ninth in the Nationwide Series standings, but could finish as high as seventh after Homestead.

"We sure wanted to finish a lot better than seventh this year, and for the most part we ran up there this year," Wallace said. "But we had some mechanical problems and got in some crashes, and that killed us. We lost a lot of points in five weeks.

"But that's definitely not where we want to be. We're a lot better team, we've got a lot better cars and we've run a lot better than where we're probably going to finish in the points."

Wallace is referring to a stretch earlier this year where problems not of his own doing knocked him out of four races over a seven-race span. He was solidly in seventh after the Michigan race but bad luck cost him a lot of ground in the Nationwide standings.

"Every year I run, the better I get," Wallace said. "We've got 13 top-10s this year vs. 11 last year, but we should have 20, 25 of those things. We've had a lot of fast race cars this year. We've just had some misfortunate luck, and it was all right in a row. I take the good with the bad, and this year has definitely been, performance-wise, been a lot better."

Moving up to seventh in the final standings would be a solid momentum-builder for the 5-Hour Energy team, crew chief Scott McDougall said.

"That would be very beneficial," McDougall said. "We all get into this sport because we want to see our stuff run better and out-perform the next guy. One way of grading yourself is where you finish in the points standings."

McDougall said the team is working hard to make sure Wallace has a fast race car for the final event with the current model. And Wallace would like nothing more than to close out 2010 with a solid run.

"A good run this weekend would definitely help a lot," Wallace said. "We finished eighth there at Homestead last year. I've always run really well at that race track. That would definitely give us a little bit of closure on this season, for sure, if we end the year on a good note."

-source: rusty wallace racing

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