CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 30, 1999) - While Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte traded paint in Saturday night's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace quietly drove to an 11th place finish.
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 30, 1999) - While Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte traded paint in Saturday night's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace quietly drove to an 11th place finish. It was Wallace's best finish since placing a career-best second at New Hampshire International Speedway six races ago.
"We had a good night," said Wallace. "Problem was, I started way too loose. And it wasn't until about 150 laps into the race that we got the car right. What should've been a top-10 run ended up being 11th."
Veteran driver Harry Gant scored four of his 18 career victories at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. So, when Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace sought for a better way to get around the treacherous 1.366-mile oval, he sought out Gant.
"I had a good talk with Harry Gant awhile back," said Wallace, "and he really helped me out with my understanding of the race track. He talked to me about the timing of your gas pedal at Darlington. Because the track is so different in each corner, you can get yourself in trouble if you use your throttle at the wrong time. There must be a thousand spots between being wide-open and having your foot off the pedal. Finding a happy medium is critical. It's all about timing, and that's what Harry taught me."
While timing is key, so too is having a well-balanced race car. "Darlington's track surface really wears tires out," said Wallace. "That's why it's so important to have your car balanced. If you're pushing, you're just going to push worse because you're wearing that right front tire down. If you're loose, you're just going to get looser because you're wearing your right rear tire down. The reason people say that you've got to be easy on your tires is because you're typically wearing one tire out faster than another. But saving your tires isn't about going slower; it's about having the proper setup.
"In this day and age, you can't conserve anything. This is Winston Cup. You've got to run as hard as you can every lap, because there's always someone who just gets out there and goes and makes a fool out of everybody. By the time the first caution flag comes out, there's only 20 cars left on the lead lap. At the very least, you want to be one of those 20 cars so you can make a run on 'em at the end."
Not since 1991 has Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace competed in an American Speed Association (ASA) event. But on Labor Day, the 1986 ASA Rookie of the Year winner will return to his roots when he takes the wheel for the Miller Lite 300 at Minnesota State Fair Park in St. Paul. "I've never driven one of these current-generation ASA cars, and I want to see what they're like," said Wallace. "ASA is going to a spec engine next year and they're also going to change their tire rule, so I'm really looking forward to driving their current car before they move on to next year's design."
Kenny Wallace's Darlington Performance Profile ------------------------- Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1999 TranSouth 400 23 23 Running/163 $23,050 1998 TranSouth 400 26 9 Running/293 $33,285 Pepsi 500 39 10 Running/364 $41,505 1997 TranSouth 400 30 14 Running/292 $23,230 Mountain Dew 500 25 24 Running/354 $23,785 1996 TranSouth 400 7 17 Running/291 $10,550 Mountain Dew 500 14 13 Running/365 $17,455 1994 Mountain Dew 500 11 11 Running/364 $20,765 1993 TranSouth 500 26 32 Head Gasket/169 $5,640 Mountain Dew 500 31 10 Running/348 $14,255