CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 13, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/ Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, clashed with NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers and weather conditions en route to a 30th place finish in the Kmart 400 at Michigan Speedway. "We...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 13, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/ Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, clashed with NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers and weather conditions en route to a 30th place finish in the Kmart 400 at Michigan Speedway.
"We were just a little bit tight, but besides that, the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy handled well through the turns," said Wallace. "I think the cloud cover around lap 100 really helped free up our race car. We ran better when the sun wasn't shining on the track. Unfortunately for the race, with cloud cover comes rain, and boy did it ever come down hard. I think we sustained some sheet metal damage during that mini tsunami. I got to hand it to our fans for staying the entire race because it was pouring."
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When Kenny Wallace gets behind the wheel of his Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet this weekend, he will reach a milestone that few modern-day NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers accomplish. Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. will be the 200th career start for the 36-year-old St. Louis native.
"Two hundred starts is a proud feather in my racing cap because very few people have long successful careers in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing anymore," said Wallace. "In the era in which we race, where people are being hired and fired constantly, trying to find that competitive edge is tough. Being able to last in this sport is something that I appreciate. Sometimes I wish time would just stand still because the flip side to all of this is that I'm getting older.
"Only a handful of drivers have been able to maintain sponsorship for a long time," continued Wallace. "It's the only sport that's as aggressive after competition as it is during competition. It's not enough to be a good driver; you also have to be able to sell product. We're salesmen on and off the race track."
Roger Penske once told Wallace that, "If you don't have a sponsor, you don't race on Sundays." It's a personal motto for Wallace, and one he has used to build a strong relationship with his Square D and Cooper Lighting sponsors.
"We get along extremely well with our sponsors," said Wallace. "I work hard for them. I make appearances all over the country to tell people that we have the best products on the market, which we do. A big part of my sponsorship requirements is to entertain potential clients on Sunday mornings in the hospitality tent. It's no problem for me because we all know that 'Sweet Daddy' can work a crowd. They've helped me race every weekend, so I'm very loyal to Square D and Cooper Lighting. Square D has been with me since 1995, and now with the addition of Cooper Lighting, I have a stable sponsorship. They're the reason I will start my 200th race on Sunday."
<pre> Kenny Wallace's Pocono Performance Profile -------------- Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1999 Pocono 500 21 25 Running/198 $33,765 Pennsylvania 500 28 37 Accident/171 $29,250 1998 Pocono 500 13 39 Engine/85 $12,915 Pennsylvania 500 8 35 Valve/168 $21,490 1997 Pocono 500 30 34 Running/196 $20,105 Pennsylvania 500 18 34 Running/195 $17,790 1996 UAW-GM 500 38 37 Engine/70 $8,645 Miller 500 25 36 Engine/175 $8,900 1995 Miller 500 34 37 Accident/149 $8,515 1993 Champion 500 31 15 Running/199 $11,615 Miller 500 30 23 Running/197 $10,215