Wallace Overcomes Transmission Problems to Finish 19th in Mexico (MEXICO CITY, Mexico) -- Traveling south of the border to race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City is quite a unique experience that presents different challenges...
Wallace Overcomes Transmission Problems to Finish 19th in Mexico
(MEXICO CITY, Mexico) -- Traveling south of the border to race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City is quite a unique experience that presents different challenges than the #22 AutoZone Ford Racing team is used to encountering on a weekly basis in the NASCAR Busch Series. After turning in a solid 20th place qualifying run on Saturday, Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team were optimistic about their chances before the start of the Telcel-Motorola 200 on Sunday afternoon.
"This weekend NASCAR decided to bring back qualifying in groups of five cars, instead of going out in single car format," Wallace explained. "We used to qualify like this at road courses years ago and I think it's a great idea because it will speed up the process. I wish that we could have qualified a little bit closer to the front, but last year I qualified 31st, so we are already ahead of the game."
When the green flag flew signaling the start of the second annual Telcel-Motorola 200, Kenny Wallace quickly got into a rhythm and began picking up postions. By lap 10, Wallace moved up to the 11th position, before beginning to experience transmission problems. On lap 13, Wallace radioed to the AutoZone crew to inform them that the gear box was slipping and he could not get it to go into second gear. By lap 17, the transmission was stuck in fourth gear and Wallace was forced to bring the #22 AutoZone Ford down pit road to the attention of the crew for the second time, which caused Wallace to go one lap down to the leaders under green flag conditions.
Through the majority of the race, Wallace ran around the 37th position and tried to get the AutoZone Ford in position to be the beneficiary of the "Lucky Dog Award" in order to get back on the lead lap. As the field continued to click off laps in the 80 lap event, veteran driver Kenny Wallace adjusted his driving style and used the clutch to adapt to the transmission problems that the #22 AutoZone Ford was experiencing.
"Randy Cox and the AutoZone team gave me a really great handling car, which made it even more frustrating that we had problems with the transmission and got caught a lap down early in the race," Wallace said. "By the time that we were able to battle our way back on the lead lap at the end of the race, I only had a few green flag laps to try and make up as make positions as possible."
When the caution came out late in the race on lap 61, Kenny Wallace was the first car one lap down, making the #22 AutoZone Ford the recipient of the "Lucky Dog Award" and placing Wallace back on the lead lap in 30th position. By the time the checkered flag flew, Wallace was able to pick up eleven spots, bringing home the AutoZone Ford in 19th position.
"We battled transmission problems with the AutoZone Ford for most of the race, so I am proud that we were able to hang in there and battle back to a top-20 finish," Wallace said. "I really like road course racing and wish that we ran more road races. In spite of the transmission problems, my car handled really well today and I'm looking forward to going to Watkins Glen later in the year, hopefully with better results next time."
This coming weekend, Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team will again head west to compete at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the Sam's Town 300 begins this Saturday, March 11 at 6:00 p.m. ET on F/X.