BUSCH: Phoenix: Steve Wallace race notes

The Bashas' Supermarkets 200 saw the green flag just after 9:30 PM ET this evening and Steve Wallace's No.66 HomeLife Communities Dodge rolled off the grid from the 25th starting position. After struggling with the car's handling through much of...

The Bashas' Supermarkets 200 saw the green flag just after 9:30 PM ET this evening and Steve Wallace's No.66 HomeLife Communities Dodge rolled off the grid from the 25th starting position. After struggling with the car's handling through much of practice, the team was hoping that changes made to the car overnight would help them move towards the front of the field. By lap 26, Wallace was reporting that his Dodge was still experiencing, although to a lesser degree, the tight condition which it had fought for much of practice

The No.66 team fell one lap down to leader Clint Bowyer just before a yellow flag period brought about the team's first pit stop on lap 59. During that stop, the team made adjustments to help correct the car's handling condition. Following the stop, Wallace fought valiantly to regain his lost lap, but by lap 71, reported that the team had overshot its adjustment and that he now was experiencing a loose condition. By lap 79, Wallace was running in the 29th position. Wallace's good luck moment of the day happened on lap 102, when a multi-car crash occurred directly in front of him. Through a mixture of both extreme car control and luck, Wallace dodged and weaved through the spinning cars of Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and David Ragan, to emerge from the incident without damage.

Following the yellow flag period, the changes made to the No.66 Dodge had started to work and the car began to "come to life." Wallace sliced his way through the field and by around lap 125, became the second car in line to regain a lap through NASCAR's "lucky dog" rule. Just after a lap 138-141 caution period, Steve really began to show his strength, storming around the outside of Roush Racing's No.06-Todd Kleuver and positioning himself to be the "lucky dog" beneficiary.

By lap 143, Wallace had moved up to the rear bumper of No.42-Juan Pablo Montoya, the embattled former Formula One driver who due primarily to pit strategy, was among the race's leaders at the moment. As the No.66 attempted to move past Montoya on lap 144, their two cars collided, sending Steve into the outside retaining wall. The Bryant Frazier-led No.66 team put in a solid repair effort and was able to return the car to competition in time to garner a top-30 finish.

POST-RACE QUOTES

Steve Wallace, Driver, No.66 HomeLife Communities Dodge Charger: "We never really got our momentum built this weekend, but the longer the race went, the better our car got. By the time we got about 2/3 of the way through the race, our lap times were actually in the top-ten. Unfortunately, we got that lap down early and could just never get it back. We finally got in position to get it back and ended up getting in an accident. All I know is that Juan Pablo was pretty slow because he stayed out and had old tires. It was go time for us; we had to stay in front of the No.06 car so that we could get the "lucky dog." I drove down into the corner on the inside of Montoya and felt like I held my line pretty well. I feel like I was definitely far enough inside of him for him to know that I was there. He's an incredibly talented driver, so I'm not sure if he was upset that he was getting passed by a car one lap down, or just frustrated about something else, but he just turned down directly through my right-side door. Maybe his spotter didn't tell him that I was there; I don't know, but it sure was frustrating to finally get our car working well and end up having that happen. This team is a ton better than our finishes show. Our guys are really working well together and it's just a matter of time before our hard work starts to pay off. I'm looking forward to getting to Talladega next weekend. We almost won the ARCA race there last year and should have a good run for HomeLife Communities.

-credit: rwi

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya