Wallace and AutoZone Team Endured Tough Weekend in Las Vegas (LAS VEGAS, NV) -- The saying goes "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" and the ...
Wallace and AutoZone Team Endured Tough Weekend in Las Vegas
(LAS VEGAS, NV) -- The saying goes "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" and the #22 AutoZone team hopes that is true, especially after the on track struggles that they endured this past weekend. After a disappointing qualifying session that placed Kenny Wallace 39th on the starting grid, the AutoZone team continued to battle with the handling of the car during the Sam's Town 300 resulting in a 32nd place finish.
During the first practice session on Friday, crew chief Randy Cox and the AutoZone team worked on numerous setups to try and gain speed, but Kenny Wallace ended up 36th on the speed chart. Wallace and the team discussed their options and made massive changes before the final practice session. The changes paid off and the #22 AutoZone Ford was 17th in the final practice session.
"We were way off during the first practice today," Wallace explained. "We all discussed what changes we could make during the break and it definitely paid off in the second practice session. Randy Cox and I are still working on our communication we're trying to learn each other. When you put new people together sometimes it takes a little while to learn how you work together."
When the team arrived at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday morning, the temperatures had plummeted and windy, rainy conditions had moved in. Wallace was the third car to make a qualifying attempt and his lap was only good enough for a 39th place starting spot.
As race time approached, the temperature continued to drop and the wind gusts picked up even more. The first caution of the race came on lap 39 and Wallace brought the AutoZone Ford down pit road for fuel and adjustments to correct the loose condition that he was battling in the corners. After the adjustment, Wallace was able to work his way up into the top-20 during the long green flag run.
Around lap 45 the leaders started coming to pit road for green flag pit stops, but the AutoZone team decided to stay out and try to wait for a caution in order to gain track position. Unfortunately, the race stayed green and Wallace was forced to make his second pit stop under green flag conditions on lap 67.
Wallace ran as high as 5th position while the field was cycling through pit stops and they had a chance to catch a caution for rain, but luck was not on the #22 team's side and they went a lap down to the leaders. Throughout the remaining laps, Wallace continued to battle loose handling conditions and changing weather conditions, while trying to get back on the lead lap. When the checkered flag fell, Wallace crossed the start-finish line in 32nd position.
"I am really disappointed with our finish today," Wallace said after the race. "My new crew chief, Randy Cox, and I have been working really hard to learn how to communicate with each other. The way that we have been running in the first few races of the season does not show how much hard work has been put in by the AutoZone team. We are going to stay positive and keep working hard to produce better results on the track. Hopefully we can start to turn things around next weekend at Atlanta."