Rockingham a True "Team" Event for the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Team ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 23)--What could have been a disappointing weekend for Kenny Wallace, driver of the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, became a ...
Rockingham a True "Team" Event for the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Team
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 23)--What could have been a disappointing weekend for Kenny Wallace, driver of the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, became a positive event with the help of some friends.
Wallace, crew chief Chris Rice and the Stacker 2 team had high expectations entering the Goody's Headache Powder 200 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. The team worked on chassis No. 15 all winter in hopes of getting it into victory lane on Saturday. After the qualifying practice session on Friday, the entire team felt their dream was going to be reality. The No. 23 car sat high atop the speed chart, making the team optimistic they had a chance win the pole for Saturday's 200-mile race.
Those ideas were shattered when they saw how the car ran through turns one and two of the 1.017-mile oval. The car appeared to be on ice skates going into the corners. Wallace posted the 43rd-fastest time in qualifying but was not awarded a provisional starting position because he was in the top 35 of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series standings in 2003.
The Stacker 2 team was baffled by the qualifying run. Wallace thought the car had a flat tire, but none of the tires was flat. Rice combed over the entire car but could not find the culprit. It was later determined that a faulty valve on the engine cool-down system caused water to spew out of the car's right front, thus wetting the tire. Wallace and the Stacker 2 team loaded their car and equipment in the trailer, and then headed for the shop to prepare for Las Vegas in two weeks.
Mike Wallace, Kenny's older brother, offered Stacker 2 an associate sponsorship position on his car for extra exposure.
"I felt that it was my responsibility to help my younger brother out in any way I could," the elder Wallace said.
When Kenny Wallace returned to his home in Concord, he received a call from fellow driver Michael Waltrip, who encouraged him to find a ride for Saturday's race. Doing so would help Wallace remain in the hunt for the 2004 Busch Series title. Wallace listened to his good friend Waltrip and began calling other competitors in the series.
Series regular Stanton Barrett allowed Wallace to take over driving duties of his No. 91 entry. Wallace and the Stacker 2 team returned to the track on Saturday morning knowing there was a lot to do to prepare for the race. Members from both the No. 91 and No. 23 team worked feverishly to get the car ready for the race.
Wallace started the Goodies Headache Powder 200 from the 43rd position but steadily worked through the field. Although both the No. 91 and No. 23 teams were in the pit box, neither crew pitted the car. The No. 99 Roush Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team serviced the car. Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 truck served as Wallace's spotter. All three teams worked hard all day, with their labors resulting in a 16th-place finish.
"It was a redeeming day for the Stacker 2 team," Wallace said. "We did not qualify for the race, yet my guys never gave up. They came back to support me and our efforts for the championship.
"This was truly a team effort. We have people from three different teams working for the same goal. That is what this sport is all about: helping one another."