DETROIT, Mich. (Feb. 28, 2001) - Eel River Racing driver Kenny Wallace probably won't be the odds-on-favorite this weekend to win the race and the Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That idea might bother some...
DETROIT, Mich. (Feb. 28, 2001) - Eel River Racing driver Kenny Wallace probably won't be the odds-on-favorite this weekend to win the race and the Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That idea might bother some drivers, Wallace isn't among them.
Wallace will wheel a new-look Hills Bros Coffee Pontiac Grand Prix in the 400-miler on Sunday. He's hoping to be in a position to win his first Winston Cup race and in the process, take home the huge bonus at the end of the day. For Pontiac, which produced more wins per car fielded in 2000 than any other manufacturer in Winston Cup, a Wallace victory would be its first ever in a No Bull 5 event and its first of the 2001 season.
The St. Louis, Missouri native qualified for the No Bull 5 this week by scoring a runner-up finish behind Dale Earnhardt in last October's 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway.
<pre> KENNY WALLACE IN 2001 Daytona - started 23rd, finished 25th, completed 184 of 200 laps, DNF (accident) Rockingham - started 30th, finished 42nd, completed 116 of 393 laps, DNF (accident)
THOUGHTS FROM KENNY WALLACE, NO. 27 HILLS BROS COFFEE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
ON BEING PART OF THE NO BULL 5 THIS WEEK AT LAS VEGAS
"It's an honor to be in it. It's very humbling. You know, you only get in that thing by finishing in the top five at the No Bull events. To be in it once is big, but to be in it twice is a feather in our cap. "This is my second time going for it. The guys have worked their tails off. We've tested hard. We're just like all the other race teams. We're giving every effort we've got to Vegas. We're excited that we're going out there with Hills Bros Coffee and Tea on the car. The car is all painted up. It's red and black, number '27' and looking good."
LOOKING BACK ON THE RACE AT TALLADEGA WHERE YOU FINISHED SECOND TO QUALIFY
FOR THE NO BULL 5 AND DALE EARNHARDT WON HIS FINAL RACE, ARE YOU GLAD NOW
THAT YOU FINISHED SECOND?
"I can tell you this with all the honor in the world - and this is the bottom line: I'm very happy to have literally pushed Dale Earnhardt to his last Winston Cup win. I'm Kenny Wallace and that was the deal.
"It means a lot. I definitely would have liked to have won the race. But for Dale Earnhardt to have given me as much praise as he did in victory lane and all over the newspapers, it meant a great deal to me. I told this story a lot over the weekend, but Earnhardt put his arm around me and said, 'What can I get you for Christmas?' I said, 'Hey, just you thanking me. That's enough. You're Superman.' It was a great endorsement from Dale Earnhardt."
WOULD YOU RATHER BE COMPETING IN THE NO BULL 5 AT A RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE
SINCE THAT'S WHERE YOU QUALIFIED FOR IT?
"[Restrictor] plate races are a pain in the butt. Daytona and Talladega are prestigious, very exciting races, but it's hard on everybody. We had a good run in Daytona. We ran competitive, but yet, what happens is you cannot control your own destiny.
"For two weeks we haven't been able to control our own destiny, so it doesn't matter if it's Daytona or Rockingham. We were going along at Daytona, minding our own business, running about 10th or 15th with 30 [laps] to go and a couple lanes up there ahead of us started beating and banging, and caused a 20-car pile-up. We dropped the green flag at a track a mile and a half smaller (Rockingham), don't even make one lap and they're already wrecking and taking good cars out.
"It doesn't matter to me whether it's Martinsville [Speedway], a road course or Daytona, as long as I'm racing. I'm a racer. I'll race in the backyard if you want to race."
DID YOU TEST AT LAS VEGAS
"Yes we did. We spent two days out there and tested 'til they turned the lights off. They had to run us out.
"I thought testing went fine. But it's like anything when you show at these racetracks, the bottom line is you've got to get qualified. You get qualified and then you get racing. They're just two different deals.
"We're going out there to make a good showing and put ourselves in a position to win. We're positive and we're looking at putting ourselves in position. I grew up in a winning family, and our attitude at every race we go to, no matter what we all feel - whether we can run 15th or 20th - that's not the attitude we go out there with. What good would the No Bull 5 be to us if we didn't think that we maybe had an outside chance of winning?"
ON THIS WEEK'S RACE BRINGING MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR TEAM, WHICH IS STILL
SEARCHING FOR A FULL-TIME SPONSOR
"I think when we get through this sponsorship search, it will be a huge relief for everybody - not just our team, but all the people that are mystified as to how we can keep racing without a sponsor. It would be a big load off our whole team right now. I'll be honest with you, it's hard to ignore everybody that comes up to us and wants to know when we're going to shut down when we've got a team that qualifies very good for every race and runs up front. It's kind of sad to know that we're as competitive as we are and people want to know when we're going to shut down."