MISFORTUNE TURNS TO PROMISE FOR STEVE WALLACE IN KANSAS --Busch Series' Youngest Full-Time Driver Shows Patience in "Learning Exercise"-- KANSAS CITY, KS (September 29, 2007)--20 year-old Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace...
MISFORTUNE TURNS TO PROMISE FOR STEVE WALLACE IN KANSAS
--Busch Series' Youngest Full-Time Driver Shows Patience in "Learning Exercise"--
KANSAS CITY, KS (September 29, 2007)--20 year-old Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace Racing headed to the Midwest this weekend, looking to tackle the gleaming 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. Entering the weekend, Steve hoped to ride into Kansas's victory lane upon the back of RWI-022, a chassis which many would consider to be his "favorite". The "22 car" won the pole at Nashville in June and nearly won the race at Kentucky a few weeks later.
Wallace and team struggled somewhat during Friday's practice sessions, resulting in an uncharacteristic 35th-place qualifying effort for this afternoon's race. Following that effort, the 300-mile Kansas round of the championship began just after 3:30 PM Eastern. Almost immediately upon the start of the race, Wallace knew that the team's initial car setup was not going to provide the results for which they had hoped. By lap nine, Wallace was already reporting to crew chief, Steve Darne a severe "tight" condition, the same condition which had plagued the team throughout Friday's practices. After two unsuccessful attempts to improve the car's handling, Wallace, Darne and team believed that their day had gone from bad to worse when a cut oil line forced them behind the wall near the race's halfway point.
Determined to make the most of their day, however, the No. 66 team made wholesale setup changes to the car while in the garage. Change is exactly what the team accomplished, too. After returning to competition nearly 25 laps down to the leaders, young Wallace had a point to prove to everyone watching. The changes made to the car improved its performance by what Steve deemed to be "2000 percent." He consistently laid down laps nearly two seconds faster than his prior laps, which put him among the top-15 fastest drivers by the end of the event.
Although the insights gained in Kansas came too late to help the team's finish there, they nonetheless have the team enthused about the upcoming 1.5-mile events. Noted Steve Wallace, "Today was a heck of a learning experience for us, that's for sure. Our car had an incredible push for the first part of the race, so it was almost a blessing in disguise that we cut the oil line. We all put our heads together and came up with something that we thought would fix our problem and it did. While our car wasn't perfect at the end of the race, it was pretty good."
Wallace continued, "The last few races, we've been trying to make some of these radical coil-binding setups--the things that a lot of the Cup teams have done--work for us and it's just not what we need to do right now. We went back to a much more traditional setup--the kind of setup that has worked well for our team in the past--and it was a ton better. We ran really fast earlier in the year at 1.5-mile tracks like Kentucky and Nashville without using a lot of these radical setups. Today really proved to us the direction that we need to go for the rest of the year and it has me feeling good going forward."