Kenny Wallace, Pennzoil Phoenix preview


#1 Pennzoil Chevrolet
Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil
Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)


* For the eighth consecutive event, Kenny Wallace will pilot the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo as the team heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil this Sunday afternoon, Oct. 28; shown live on NBC beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

* This weekend, Kenny Wallace will race the same Pennzoil Chevrolet that saw competition at the first Martinsville event and then again at Loudon earlier this year. At Martinsville, Steve Park drove to a 19th-place finish and then finished 13th at Loudon. The car saw more success in last year's event at Phoenix where Park drove the Monte Carlo to a third-place finish.

* In last year's event, Pennzoil driver Steve Park posted his best qualifying effort on the 1-mile track at PIR to begin the 312-lap event in the fifth spot and, excluding green round pit stops, never fell out of the top five the entire afternoon. Taking over the lead following a great pit stop, Park led the 43-car field for 11 laps before a caution fell and all the teams pitted. During the nearly 3-hour event, the Pennzoil team consistently put Park back on the track up on the front -- posting pit stops in the 14- and 15-second range, earning crew chief Paul Andrews the "HASBRO Pit Strategy Award." After the last caution and round of pit stops, Park was posted in the fifth position with 11 laps remaining when the green flag fell. Working his way around the #6 car, Park next set his sights on Rusty Wallace in the #2 car for the third spot. Racing side by side for the final two laps, Park passed Wallace and beat him to the line by inches for third.

* Last weekend in Talladega, Kenny Wallace, in the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet, narrowly missed the multi-car accident that involved more than 15 cars on the final lap and posted the team's best restrictor-plate race finish by crossing the finish line in the sixth position during the EA SPORTS 500 on the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Starting in the 15th position, Wallace moved into the top five early by running consistently on the bottom. Following the first pit stop of the afternoon, Wallace rallied back from a slow stop, caught back up to the draft, then maneuvered his way through the field and back into the top five. Following the second round of pit stops, the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teams ran in the second, third and fourth positions, lined up on the bottom for 10 circuits, until the outside groove caught the front pack on lap 117 and Wallace dropped to the fourth position. When the caution flag fell at lap 130, Wallace pitted for four tires and returned to competition in the seventh position. As some drivers pitted during the final caution period with 38 laps remaining, Wallace stayed on the track and continued to race hard in the front pack. Under the restrictor-plate racing conditions, the field stayed close throughout the entire afternoon, providing tight racing during the waning laps. Knowing he wanted to run the high groove toward the end, Wallace stayed strong and earned himself more than $80,000 for his efforts.

* Although he remains on the sidelines, Steve Park continues to work hard in his rehabilitation. Making steady progress, Park sticks to a very rigid workout regimen as he prepares to return to the Pennzoil Chevrolet. Also focusing to correct the double vision, Park visits a specialist regularly as therapy improves his condition.


"When they built Phoenix International Raceway, they were looking for something different," said Wallace, who has raced in all three NASCAR series at Phoenix. "The stereotypical 1.5-mile Winston Cup speedway wasn't in their heads at the time and I love that because it's a return to old school racing. It has a tri-oval down the backstretch and a flat corner in 3 and 4. It reminds me of a smaller version of Pocono without as much of a dog-leg on the backstretch. Phoenix is a lot of fun because you can drive all over the race track, using any groove that works best for the car.

"In last year's event, the car I was driving started with a slight push and was tight coming off the corners," continued Wallace, who drove the #55 car to a 19th-place finish at Phoenix in 2000. "We qualified in the top 10 which helped keep me on the lead lap. The Pennzoil team ran great here last year so I'm really looking forward to racing at Phoenix this weekend."

"We had a chance to win at Phoenix last year but the late caution hindered us since we were better on long runs," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "Track is not exactly like New Hampshire but shares some of the same characteristics. Think Kenny will do a really good job for us again. We were real happy about the finish last week at Talladega.

"The set up is different this year at Phoenix due to the tires not being the same," added Andrews. "Think we have it all figured out and we're ready to go."

<pre> Kenny Wallace Phoenix International Raceway Winston Cup Performance Record Year Race St Fin Laps Status 2000 Checker Auto Parts 500 7 19 312/312 Running 1999 Checker Auto Parts 500 12 18 311/312 Running 1998 Dura Lube 500 3 8 257/257 Running 1997 Dura Lube 500 21 35 308/312 Running 1996 Dura Lube 500 7 37 254/312 Engine 1995 Dura Lube 500 27 26 309/312 Running 1994 Slick 50 500 11 18 310/312 Running 1993 Slick 50 500 32 17 310/312 Running 1991 Pyroil 500 41 43 1/312 Mechanical

Pennzoil Team Phoenix International Raceway Performance Record Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 Checker Auto Parts 500 (WC) 5 3 312/312 Running $112,250 1999 Checker Auto Parts 500K (WC) 26 15 311/312 Running 47,650 1998 Dura Lube 500K (WC) 35 24 255/257 Running 18,870 1997 Dura Lube 500K (WC) 31 41 240/312 Engine 11,390


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Steve Park , Kenny Wallace