Steve Wallace Strong In Las Vegas; Shot from Earnhardt Jr. Ends Potential Top-Ten Finish for Young Driver LAS VEGAS (February 28, 2009)--Although his ultimate finish in today's 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Las Vegas...
Steve Wallace Strong In Las Vegas; Shot from Earnhardt Jr. Ends Potential Top-Ten Finish for Young Driver
LAS VEGAS (February 28, 2009)--Although his ultimate finish in today's 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway wasn't quite what he had hoped for, Steve Wallace's showing in the desert earlier this afternoon proved to onlookers that the young driver and his Rusty Wallace Racing team are ready to be true contenders in the Nationwide Series.
Following up on a top-ten showing in last week's event in California, Steve Wallace continued his momentum in a big way early at Las Vegas, posting a sixth-place qualifying effort--the best of any non-Sprint Cup Series driver.
Upon the start of the race, Wallace proved that he had one of the race's fastest cars, eventually breaking into the top-five and remaining in the top-15 for 60 of the race's first 68 laps.
During a caution period on lap 68, Wallace was involved in an incident with the No. 5 driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., which resulted in damage to Wallace's Chevrolet and subsequently put him one lap down. Wallace would eventually rejoin the lead lap, but the resulting poor track position put him in the middle of a multi-car crash on lap 105, ignited by contact between Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick.
Said Wallace, "I really hate it for our team and our sponsors. We've had really fast race cars in the first three races and just got taken out in bonehead moves by other drivers in two of them. On one hand, it's cool that we've been able to show that we can run up front and compete, but on the other hand, being there and getting totally robbed makes it a much harder pill to swallow.
"All I know is that there was a wreck off of turn two; the five car and I were right behind it. I hit the gas to get past the wreck and drove around Dale Jr. on the bottom side of the track. We got slowed down for the caution on the backstretch and when we got to turn three, he just hung a dead left and knocked the whole right front fender off our car. He was obviously mad about something, but I have no idea what. We raced around each other all day and never made contact until then.
"I guess I kind of know how Brian Vickers felt at Daytona. If that's how Dale Jr. wants to race people now, then I guess that's how it'll be. It doesn't matter who it is; you can't let anyone bully you around like that. On a positive note though, I guess if Dale Jr. feels like he has to wreck us under caution to beat us, then our program at Rusty Wallace Racing is headed in the right direction."