Steve Wallace Wins at MIS BROOKLYN MI (8-19-05) - Just one day after turning 18-years-old, Steve Wallace made history at Michigan Int'l Speedway Friday evening by becoming the youngest driver in the history of the track to win a race in any...
Steve Wallace Wins at MIS
BROOKLYN MI (8-19-05) - Just one day after turning 18-years-old, Steve Wallace made history at Michigan Int'l Speedway Friday evening by becoming the youngest driver in the history of the track to win a race in any series that has competed there.
Wallace, driving the no. 27 Kodak Dodge for Penske Racing, dominated the event, leading 84 of 106 laps en route to victory. However, by opting to make only one pit stop during the event, fuel mileage became a huge concern for the rookie driver.
"It was really close," said Wallace. "I really had to baby the throttle a lot. ARCA is just a great starting ground at a relatively low cost. The cool part about ARCA is that you get to run these superspeedways. You don't get that with other series."
Wallace had the advantage of several well-known mentors coaching him through the race, including his father, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series veteran Rusty Wallace, and his uncle, current NASCAR Busch Series competitor Kenny Wallace.
"Pretty much it was my Uncle Kenny that was giving me all the help today," said Wallace. "The only thing my dad said to me was to drive that car like I've never driven a car before and I did man. I don't know if I even ever let off in three and four."
Rusty Wallace's words of wisdom came on the final caution of the race, which prompted a green-white-checker finish with Steve Wallace leading the field over rookie driver Michael Guerity and NASCAR Nextel Cup veteran Kenny Schrader.
And, while Steve Wallace ultimately went unchallenged, Guerity did manage to make a run for the lead. The nose of his no. 4 Hantz Group Dodge nestled just past the rear fenders with one lap to go.
"He drove me clean," said Wallace. "Mike's a great guy. I'm going to race that car, the 4 car, in Chicago in two weeks."
Guerity, who ultimately finished a career-best second, entered the race as a local favorite, as the driver was raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
"I had half a car in on him going into one," said Guerity. "It's a really cool feeling, to finish this well in front of all the Hantz Group employees. We were focused on making a run for the lead, so we never even noticed Schrader behind us. I think I'll be a lot happier about today's finish tomorrow when I wake up."
Guerity also earned the Hurst Golden Shifter Award for his efforts.
Schrader, who has 12-career ARCA RE/MAX Series victories, brought his own no. 99 Federated Auto Parts Dodge across the line in third place, followed by David Ragan in the CertainTeed/31-W Insulation no. 90 Ford in fourth and Chad McCumbee, in the no. 11 Fast Track High Performance Driving School Chevrolet in fifth.
Several drivers who had posted quick speeds during Pork Pole qualifying and ARCA RE/MAX Series practice sessions experienced troubles. Kyle Krisiloff, who had earned the Pork Pole Award with a speed of 185.620 mph on Thursday, finished 37th and completed only 19 laps after tire troubles ended his day early.
The day was particularly heartbreaking for Rookie of the Year contender Joey Miller, who completed just 17 laps and finished 38th after the engine expired on his no. 9 Country Joe Homes-Eagle Creek Aviation Dodge.
"We have only finished out of the top 10 four times, and each time we have had an engine failure," said Miller. "I just hate it for the guys, they work so hard only to come up short".
Miller, who now trails Frank Kimmel by 310 points in the national championship point standings with five races remaining in 2005, had pitted on lap 10 for a right rear tire going down, only to have the engine expire on him a couple of laps later. The DNF marked the fourth time that Miller's team has left a race early due to engine problems.
However, Kimmel, in the no. 46 Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford, also had a rough day, finishing 19th.
"We made the best of a bad day," said Kimmel. "A tire went down and I'm just glad we didn't wreck. In the end, just glad to finish the race."
SK Crew Chief of the race honors went to Doug George for his efforts in helping Ken Weaver, in the no. 20 1-800-4-A-Phone Pontiac, finish sixth.
The Hoosier Tire Hard Charger of the Race honors went to Ryan Hackett, who finished 12th after starting 29th in his career-first series start, while Gladiator of the Race honors went to Day Enterprises and driver David Ragan. Ragan finished 4th after only making one lap during the first practice session due to his involvement in Jack Roush's popular "Gong Show" competition.