K. Wallace Martinsville preview

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Sept. 25, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, notched his second top-15 finish in three weeks by grabbing 15th place in Sunday's MBNA.com 400 at Dover (Del.) Downs International...

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Sept. 25, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, notched his second top-15 finish in three weeks by grabbing 15th place in Sunday's MBNA.com 400 at Dover (Del.) Downs International Speedway.

"We were tight and we couldn't get the push out of our race car," said Wallace. "We loosened it up all day long. We took a pound of air pressure out of the left side tires and we put a rubber in the right rear. We took some wedge out and we went up on the right side track bar. We just couldn't get the front end nailed down. The Chevrolets are still unbalanced. They're good race cars, but they need to get some more downforce. But all in all, with the way we battled, it was a good day for the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet."

NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams are like sailors in that they give nicknames to their race cars. Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, will take a race car dubbed "Stepchild" to Sunday's NAPA AutoCare 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

"The race car earned its nickname because the engineers who built it cussed it like a stepchild," said Jimmy Elledge, crew chief of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy. "Everything on the race car was built in-house and it was a tedious process. We put a Laughlin three-quarter drop-snout on the front end of an Andy Petree Racing (APR) flat track race car.

"We saw some people using Laughlin fronts on smaller tracks," continued Elledge. "They were having a lot of success with it. Then one day, Kenny said he ran well with some of those snouts while racing for FILMAR. We talked about it and said, 'What the heck.' When we first started, we thought it was the dumbest idea known to man. Now, all APR flat track race cars have Laughlin front clips. Just remember that you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got. That means if you don't change, you won't get better."

When talking with Elledge about Martinsville Speedway, you notice a gleam in the second-year crew chief's eyes. The reason for his excitement - Wallace has posted two top-10 performances at Martinsville in three races since APR added the No. 55 team. Only a stuck throttle during this season's spring race prevented a third consecutive top-10. That day, Wallace started on the outside pole next to his brother Rusty, but that did not last long as the pair raced door-to-door for just two full laps.

"Just before it crashed into the wall, the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy motor was running strong down the straightaways," said Elledge. "In fact, it ran so well we couldn't get it stopped until it knocked down the turn three wall. I think 'Stepchild' was strong enough to win that day. With this race car, we've had a shot to win the last three times at Martinsville. She's one of those machines that you love to hold on to and hope she never gets hurt. While we did wreck 'Stepchild' this spring, we have run her at Richmond (Va.) and Loudon (N.H.) since then, and Kenny says she's as strong as ever."

"Stepchild" is the pride of the No. 55 fleet. While some of the credit goes to the Square D Racing Team's setup, the rest has to go to the man turning left around the .526-mile oval.

"We have a good shock and spring package for Martinsville," said Elledge. "Our No. 33 Chevy teammate has always run well at Martinsville over the years. On top of that, Kenny is probably the best driver at Martinsville and he doesn't know it. 'Stepchild' has been a good race car for us at Martinsville, but he deserves some of the commendation. Kenny really knows how to get around that track."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Andy Petree