Bristol II: Rusty Wallace - NASCAR spotlight

Bristol would be appropriate place for Wallace to end winless streak DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2003) -- Rusty Wallace's success at Bristol Motor Speedway has contributed heavily to his legend. Along the way, it likewise has added to...

Bristol would be appropriate place for Wallace to end winless streak

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2003) -- Rusty Wallace's success at Bristol Motor Speedway has contributed heavily to his legend. Along the way, it likewise has added to the lore of BMS, a half-mile oval that has evolved into one of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' showcases, especially when the series visits in late summer for the annual night race witnessed by 160,000 spectators.

The Sharpie 500 will be run Saturday night, and Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) will be gunning for his first victory since April 29, 2001 at California Speedway. That amounts to an 85-race winless skein.

Wallace nearly put an end to that a year ago at Bristol, finishing a close second to Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). While not a victory, the effort was reminiscent of Wallace's best at BMS, and reminded people why he has nine career victories there, tops among active drivers and tied for second all-time behind Darrell Waltrip's 12 victories.

"We had a really good test at Bristol two weeks ago," Wallace said. "We went through all kinds of different things. The car was just magnificent, so we hope we have our act together [for the race]."

In addition to his nine victories, Wallace has seven Bud Poles at Bristol, tied for second all-time with Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) behind Cale Yarborough's record of nine. Wallace, who got his first career NASCAR Winston Cup victory on April 6, 1986 at Bristol, also leads active drivers in top-five finishes (20) and laps led (3,398) at BMS.

"All drivers have tracks that really suit their driving styles nicely," Wallace said, talking about his affinity for Bristol and another short track, Richmond International Raceway. "Why do I run so well [at short tracks]? I know exactly what I want the car to do at those tracks to get the job done. I know that feel I'm working for. I keep working until I can find that unique feel and when I get it, we're looking good."

Wallace comes into Bristol 15th in series points, and his struggles have contrasted to the success of his Penske Racing South teammate Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge), who leads the series in victories (five) and poles (five).

"There's no doubt about it, this has been one of the [worst] seasons I've had in a long, long time," Wallace said. "To sit there and see my teammate win five races and all those poles, and people say 'Why aren't you guys getting it done?' ...well, it's just the way it happens. On the other hand we've had some great, great runs that we couldn't finish and capitalize on.

"It's embarrassing. It's frustrating. But I'm not a quitter. Everybody knows that. I keep on digging trying to make this better. I think it's a matter of time. I think we're right on the edge of being back in Victory Lane, and Bristol would be a great place to do it."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , Ryan Newman , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin
Teams Team Penske