Dover - Less is more for Wallace

Wallace hoping less is more at Dover DOVER, Del. (May 28, 1998) When it comes to this subject, Miller Lite Team Penske driver Rusty Wallace is convinced that "less is more." No, it's not in reference to his major sponsor's boast of ...

Wallace hoping less is more at Dover

DOVER, Del. (May 28, 1998) When it comes to this subject, Miller Lite Team Penske driver Rusty Wallace is convinced that "less is more."

No, it's not in reference to his major sponsor's boast of calories and taste for its beverage product. What Wallace is referring to in this instance is racing on the one-mile Dover Downs International Speedway.

"Less laps is more exciting racing at Dover," said Wallace, a three-time winner on the track known as the "Monster Mile" entering Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400. "The shorter distance, the 400-mile format that both races have gone to now, makes for a better show all around. When the fall race was changed to 400 miles, I knew it was just a matter of time before the first race would be changed, too."

"A 400-mile race at Dover produces flat-out and wide-open racing from start to finish," said Wallace, now back up to third in points after his runner-up finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (trailing leader Jeff Gordon by 31 points and second-place Jeremy Mayfield by four points). "It amounts to a three-hour show that is perfect for the fans on hand and for the TV audience watching."

Wallace could be looked upon as an authority on the subject. After all, it was Wallace who in 1993 won the slowest...and longest...race in Dover's NASCAR Winston Cup racing history.

"The 500-mile format was more or less an endurance deal," said Wallace, whose first career Dover win on Sept. 19, 1993, was accomplished at an average speed of only 100.334 mph and required four hours and 59 minutes to complete.

"It was probably the lone holdout to all of our racing being flat-out from beginning to end. I mean part of the strategy was to get a good rhythm going and log laps. You just wanted to be able to stay in the lead lap and be around to do the real racing during the final 100 laps or so.

"It was the big exception to the rule. I was just telling someone the other day that there's really no necessity for the tricks, bells and whistles and all in our sport anymore because we're running on the ragged edge from the drop of the green until the drop of the checkered in every single race we're running, whether it's 600 miles at Charlotte or the last 10-lap segment of The Winston. But, the fact was with the 500-mile format there was part of the race where you really just wanted to put laps on the scoreboard.

"Five hour races are just too long and that's what they were. We were running the (Coca-Cola) 600 at Charlotte, historically the longest race that we run, in lots less time than the Dover 500-milers and that really doesn't make much sense as far as the big picture goes in our sport." (Note: Last Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 took 4 hrs., 23 min., 53 sec. to run...even with eight cautions for 52 laps.)

This weekend's Dover action will mark the return of Wallace's car named "Snake." The PR-18 chassis, named in honor of Wallace's Miller Lite drag racing teammate and good friend Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, was crashed at Bristol on March 29.

"We led the most laps and had them covered with 'Snake' at Bristol before the motor started going away and we ran over crap off another car which cut the tire and sent us hard into the first-turn wall," Wallace said. "The '18' car has been a real strong ride for us and it'll be great to have it back at the track."

Friday's Bud Pole Award Qualifying at 3 p.m. will allot the first 25 starting spots in Sunday's lineup and Saturday's 11 a.m. Bud Beer Second-Round Qualifying session will complete the 43-car starting field. Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400 will be carried live by TNN: The Nashville Network and MRN Radio, with broadcasts set to begin at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Rusty Wallace
Teams Team Penske