BUSCH: Bristol II: Steve Wallace race report

Hopes were high for Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities RWI Racing as they headed to "Thunder Valley," the 0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway. At the track where his father won nine times, Steve Wallace did not disappoint. The 20 year-old...

Hopes were high for Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities RWI Racing as they headed to "Thunder Valley," the 0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway. At the track where his father won nine times, Steve Wallace did not disappoint. The 20 year-old followed up his Spring 2007 Bristol pole with another top-five qualifying effort, against a field which contained over 20 Cup series drivers. His lap of 16.078 seconds (119.343 MPH) was good enough to earn him the fifth starting position for Friday evening's event.

The Food City 250 rolled off around 8:00 PM ET and immediately upon the start of the race, Wallace took the opportunity to strike. He blasted his way around the No.22 of Mike Bliss and into the fourth position, where he remained for the first 23 laps. As the race went on, Wallace's Dodge began to encounter a tight condition, but he still managed to hold onto a top-ten position until lap 78, when crew chief Tony Liberati called him to pit road for the team's first (and only) stop of the race. Following the four-tire change, Wallace emerged from the pits in the 18th position.

By lap 112, Steve managed to make his way back into the top-ten. Despite an ever-worsening tight condition and tires decidedly older than most of his competition, the 20 year-old stayed in or near the race's top-15 until disaster struck the team with just 44 laps remaining.

As the field exited turn four on lap 206, the rear of Wallace's Dodge was slammed by No.35-Bobby Hamilton, Jr. The contact from Hamilton spun Wallace hard into the inside retaining wall, causing moderate damage to the No.66 Dodge. The damage took the HomeLife Communities team 12 laps to repair and relegated Wallace to a 32nd finishing position.

STEVE WALLACE, DRIVER, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES RWI RACING DODGE CHARGER

"The HomeLife Communities team gave me a good race car today. Although it started to get pretty tight as we went on, we definitely had a top-ten car if we were on equal tires with everyone. We came off turn four that one time and from my perspective, we just got taken out. That's all there was to it. There may have been a half a groove or something like that up top, but someone that's been around as long as Bobby Hamilton, Jr. has should know better than to try to stick his nose there. It was a shame for everyone, because we really did have a good race car today.

In all honesty though, we shouldn't have been back there with guys like Hamilton, Jr. anyway. Our car was a lot better than that, but we probably didn't have the right pit strategy going on. Tony (Liberati) decided that we were going to try to one-stop the race and if our car was a little better, that might have been the right call. The 12 car tried that too and almost won the race. Our car was probably too tight for that, though. We were scared to get away from that strategy later in the race, because track position is just so important at Bristol. In the end, we probably would have been better off pitting for fresh tires with the rest of the leaders, but hindsight is always twenty-twenty. Our run was encouraging though and has us excited about California, where we qualified in the top-ten back in the Spring."

-credit: rwi

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Mike Bliss , Steve Wallace