Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Team Move Up One Position in the Points, Now Sit 11th (October 28, 2006) Millington, Tenn. -- A burnout out on Beale St., a visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a Cardinal's win followed by an action ...
Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Team Move Up One Position in the Points, Now Sit 11th
(October 28, 2006) Millington, Tenn. -- A burnout out on Beale St., a visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a Cardinal's win followed by an action packed race at Memphis Motorsports Park made for an exciting week for Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team. Wallace's return to AutoZone's hometown was not a disappointment as the No. 22 qualified 6th, lead 16 laps, crossed the start/finish line in the 14th position and moved up one position in the point standings.
Kenny Wallace arrived in Memphis running at 110 percent. Not only was this AutoZone's hometown but his beloved baseball team was on-track to win the World Series for the first time in 12 years.
"My adrenaline was pumping all weekend. Between the Cardinal's and wanting a strong performance at Memphis, this was an exciting and fun weekend. The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion was strong right from the start and if the pit strategy had played in our favor we would have walked away with a top-five finish easily," explained Wallace.
The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion had a strong showing in qualifying, placing the car sixth on the starting grid.
As the Sam's Town 250 got under way, Wallace backed up the qualifying run to move up two positions and run in the fourth position during the beginning laps.
A caution flag on lap 44 allowed Wallace to bring the No. 22 machine down pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. Quick work by the AutoZone pit crew placed Wallace in the third position on the restart.
Wallace continued his charge to the front and remained in the top-five until lap 98 when he reported in, "the car is good for 20 to 30 laps then I can't feel the left front." Relief would come not too long after as the caution flag waved once again on lap 99.
Crew Chief, Todd Gordon called Wallace to pit road for fresh tires and fuel. The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion restarted in the seventh position.
At the midway point, Wallace radioed crew, "this is the best the car has been all day." With that in mind, the team opted to stay out on track when the leaders pitted on lap 137. Hoping that pit strategy would play in their favor; Wallace restarted in the first position and led 16 laps.
As tire wear would slowly begin to plague him, the No. 22 gradually fell back to the 16th position by lap 231.
In a last minute effort to regain track position, the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion returned to pit road on lap 233 for tires and fuel. The pit stop placed the team in the 22nd position with 14 laps remaining.
Determination and quick maneuvering by Wallace helped him charge through the field as the race laps dwindled down. In just 10 laps, Wallace would move up eight positions and cross the start/finish line in 14th.
"I know that wasn't the finish we were hoping for but we'll take it. Fortunately for us, this top-15 finish moved us up in the points also," remarked Wallace. "We've got three more races to put this AutoZone team in the top-10."
-credit: ppc racing