Season Full of Ups and Downs Comes to a Close for the AutoZone Team Homestead, Fl. -- Morale was high heading into Homestead with hopes of Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team securing a top-10 position in the driver point standings. Wallace sat...
Season Full of Ups and Downs Comes to a Close for the AutoZone Team
Homestead, Fl. -- Morale was high heading into Homestead with hopes of Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team securing a top-10 position in the driver point standings. Wallace sat just 92 points out of tenth coming into the season finale. Unfortunately luck did not play in the team's favor and Wallace crossed the finish line in the 26th position, 44 points shy of a walk across the banquet stage.
"We have struggled with our mile and a half program this year," explained Wallace. "So I wasn't quite sure how the car was going to run when we unloaded on Friday."
The No. 22 machine ran speeds of 167.759 mph and 170.181 mph in Friday's practice sessions. Placing the AutoZone Ford Fusion 34th and 31st on the speed charts.
Starting the Ford 300 from the 29th position, Wallace knew he had his work cut out for him. In order for him to receive that coveted 10th place award, a top-10 finish in Saturday night's race was a must. Just three laps into the race, handling issues became a concern when Wallace reported in, "I'm free. It should tighten up."
The No. 22 would do just that and by lap 21 the car became too tight. The tight handling condition would inevitably work against the team and Wallace fell one lap down to the leader just 35 laps into the 200 lap event.
Numerous pit stops were made throughout the evening to try and alleviate the handling woes. With a combination of track bar and air pressure adjustments, the AutoZone Ford Fusion began to show signs of life and slowly made its way through the field to run as high as the 24th position on lap 118.
The surge to the front would not last long as the handling began to deteriorate again and Wallace began to slide back in the field.
Despite two more pit stops in the closing laps for adjustments, Wallace would never get the break he needed to run up in the top-10. The AutoZone team would have to settle for a 26th place finish and the 11th place position in the driver point standings.
"Things just weren't working in our favor this evening. I hate that we couldn't bring home a top-10 finish," remarked Wallace. "This AutoZone team has had a lot of ups and downs this season. Unfortunately our goal did not happen and we won't be making the trip to the awards banquet this year."
As the 2006 season ends so does the relationship between AutoZone, Kenny Wallace and ppc Racing.
"I loved my time at ppc Racing and I'm sad that it has to end. I would like to thank AutoZone though for stepping in last year and continuing on with us during the 2006 season. It's been a great ride and I've learned a lot while at ppc," commented Wallace.
-credit: ppc racing