Charlotte Dallenbach Preview

NASCAR marathon no problem for Dallenbach Wally Dallenbach and the No. 25 Budweiser team learned their lessons last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and don't plan to make the same mistakes again. Practicing...

NASCAR marathon no problem for Dallenbach

Wally Dallenbach and the No. 25 Budweiser team learned their lessons last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and don't plan to make the same mistakes again. Practicing in the daytime and racing at night creates problems. Practicing in the daytime and racing at night after an ARCA race is more like a nightmare. Dallenbach finished second in his 25-lap qualifying race last Friday night at the 1.5-mile oval, but the Budweiser team didn't fare quite as well in Saturday night's Winston Open. "We raced after the ARCA race, and those cars race on a different brand of tires," Dallenbach said. "There was a lot of garbage on the track, and we really didn't need to show up at all on Saturday until it was time to put the car on the line. "Track conditions made the car so loose we couldn't do much with it. Normally you set it up loose in practice and it'll tighten up at night in the race. It stayed loose on us in the race, and I think everybody else was loose, too. "The scheduling is hard to handle sometimes, and the track at Charlotte is really temperature sensitive. We learned a lot last weekend about that, and we think we'll be in better shape when we come back with a different car this weekend." Dallenbach and company turned in the third fastest time during a recent General Motors test session at Charlotte and hope to repeat that effort during first-round qualifying under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. With veteran crew chief Tony Furr calling the shots, Dallenbach says a top-10 finish is a realistic goal for the Budweiser team in Sunday's 600-miler. "If all goes well, we could come away with a top-five finish," Dallenbach said. "It's a long race, and our team does better on longer runs. We seem to be better after 35 or 40 laps. I think we've got a good chance to do well at Charlotte. "Tire management is going to be very important. Some teams had problems with tire wear last weekend, but we didn't seem to have any tire problems. We made some 25-lap runs on Saturday and didn't have any problems. Of course, we're going to be making much longer runs than that this weekend. "Terry Labonte made a smart call by taking four tires on the last pit stop Saturday night and won The Winston. That tire call was the difference in 200 grand and second-place money. Terry wasn't that fast in practice, but he was happy with the car, and he ended up winning the thing. That's the way it goes sometimes." Sunday's race gets the green flag at 6:15 p.m., so track conditions may change drastically before the checkered flag. However, Dallenbach doesn't anticipate severe changes like his team encountered last week. "You've just got to be smarter than the track with your setup," Dallenbach said. "I believe this will be the best car I've ever had for the 600, and it's sure going to be a lot more fun driving 600 miles in a good car. "I've been in some really bad cars before, and it's no fun trying to race for 600 miles with a car you can't drive. I really think we're going to be in good shape. We had a good test with this car, and it's been good in the races we've had it in already this year. I'm pretty excited about the race. "Actually, I'm pretty excited about the next month and a half. We've got some really good tracks coming up for me, and Charlotte is the first one. It'll be a coin flip at Dover, but after that, we've got some tracks I'm really looking forward to -- Michigan, Pocono and Sears Point. "Hopefully, we can get the ball rolling at Charlotte and stay on a roll the rest of the season. All we've got to do is beat 42 other cars. That's a pretty tall order, but somebody has to do it every week. It's time for it to be our week."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Terry Labonte