HARRISBURG, N.C., (Feb. 15, 1999) - Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace endured more than his fair share of adversity at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He qualified 15th in first round qualifying only to become involved in a lap one...
HARRISBURG, N.C., (Feb. 15, 1999) - Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace endured more than his fair share of adversity at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He qualified 15th in first round qualifying only to become involved in a lap one crash during his Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying race. Forced to a backup car, Wallace started the Daytona 500 at the tail end of the field. He ran 92 laps before engine woes relegated him to a 42nd place finish.
"On the end of the motor there's a piece called the mandrel," said Wallace, "and it has a bolt going through it that holds all the pulleys. That bolt broke and everything came off the motor. The dry sump belt, which pumps oil to the motor, was one of those belts. As soon as the light came on, I cut it (the engine) off. I got the car off the track and took it behind the wall."
Having a new team on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit means having no car owner points from the previous season. No car owner points means no chance of a provisional starting position in any of this season's first four Winston Cup races. That's the profile of the Square D-sponsored team of driver Kenny Wallace.
A strong qualifying effort augmented by an equally strong race run in the Feb. 21 Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 is the obvious goal for the No. 55 team owned by Andy Petree. But it's more than a goal - it's a necessity. To make that goal a reality, Wallace and his Square D team tested at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham Jan. 4-5.
"We made 12 qualifying runs on the first day, and then on the second day we concentrated on making 25-lap race runs," said Wallace. "By the end of the test, I was very happy with the car. We're heading into competition, and if testing is any indication, we should be okay."
Going into Sunday's race at the 1.017-mile oval, NASCAR has changed the rear spoiler size and front air dam heights on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Chevy teams will be required to maintain a rear spoiler size of 6.5 inches in height, and 57 inches in width, along with a minimum front air dam height of 3.5 inches.
"We ran competitive speeds compared to last year's speeds during our test, but we don't know how much the new spoiler and air dam rules will effect us," said Jimmy Elledge, crew chief on the Square D Chevrolet. "From what I've seen in testing so far, the new rules don't seem to pick us up much speed in qualifying. You'd think that more downforce would make the thing faster, but it doesn't. The spoiler seems to help on longer runs. At a place like Rockingham, it's really going to show up. Your speed drops off quick there because your tires wear out fast. You need more grip as the race wears on. More spoiler gives you more grip. That's where we should see the difference."
Kenny Wallace's Performance Profile at "The Rock" --------------------
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1998 Goodwrench 400 2 38 Accident/272 $14,590 ACDelco 400 34 16 Running/392 $25,175 1997 Goodwrench 400 13 41 Engine/180 $18,730 ACDelco 400 25 37 Engine/379 $18,600 1996 Godwrench 400 8 7 Running/393 $14,525 ACDelco 400 8 19 Running/391 $15,400 1995 Goodwrench 500 29 20 Running/477 $12,375 1994 ACDelco 500 23 15 Running/488 $21,225 1993 Goodwrench 500 32 23 Running/481 $8,835 ACDelco 500 41 37 Handling/181 $7,950