Michigan: Rusty Wallace Racing race report

STEVE WALLACE FIGHTS TO TOP-15 IN MICHIGAN --Cut Tire Ruins Day for Brendan Gaughan and No. 62 Team-- BROOKLYN, MI (August 15, 2009)--After starting from the 14th position, Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet) battled an ...

STEVE WALLACE FIGHTS TO TOP-15 IN MICHIGAN
--Cut Tire Ruins Day for Brendan Gaughan and No. 62 Team--

BROOKLYN, MI (August 15, 2009)--After starting from the 14th position, Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet) battled an ill-handling race car to bring home a top-15 finish in this afternoon's CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Wallace's 15th-place finish in Michigan was his 15th top-15 of the season, his third in the last four races and his eighth in the last 11 events.

After dodging the spinning car of Carl Edwards on lap three, Wallace--fighting a tight condition--remained among the top-15 during the relatively uneventful first stint of the race. However, Wallace and many others soon found themselves trapped on the tail end of the lead lap when the race's second caution flew on lap 46. As a result of the leaders heading to pit road under the caution, Wallace was a recipient of a NASCAR "wave-around" and rejoined the lead lap for the subsequent restart.

Wallace remained in or around the top-15 until his team's second stop of the day on lap 88, during which, several adjustments were made to the No. 66 car. These adjustments failed to cure Wallace's handling condition, however and he would fall a lap down to the leaders, just prior to the lap 106 caution period. In a stroke of luck, Wallace received the "lucky dog" for this caution period and following his lap 108 pit stop, would restart from the 18th position on lap 114.

The race's final caution period flew on lap 116, setting up a six-lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Wallace quickly moved up to the 15th position and made a daring move off of turn four--with two laps remaining--to the inside of the three-wide race for 11th between Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson and David Reutimann. After clearing most of the fight, Wallace was forced onto the apron of the track by Reutimann in turn two, killing Wallace's momentum and relegating the No. 66 team to a 15th-place finish.

With his top-15 effort in Michigan, Wallace maintained the sixth position in the Nationwide Series driver standings. He is now 83 points from fifth place and holds a 61-point edge over seventh.

Like his teammate, Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 USfidelis Chevrolet) also battled through a handling condition for most of today's event. He would climb as high as eighth in the race's early going, before settling in among the top-20 through his first two pit stops of the race.

Gaughan's day would take a turn for the worst on lap 106, when the left front tire failed on his No. 62, shredding the car's left front fender. Ironically, it was Gaughan's misfortune that put his teammate back on the lead lap during the resulting caution period. The No. 62 team would subsequently spend two laps on pit road while attempting to repair the damage to the front of their Chevrolet.

As a result of his tire problems, Gaughan came home with a 29th-place finish in today's event, allowing him to maintain the ninth position in the 2009 driver standings. He now sits 57 points behind eighth place and has a 64-point margin over tenth.

-credit: rwr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Brendan Gaughan , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Reed Sorenson , Steve Wallace