CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Oct. 31, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, was looking forward to the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Unfortunately for the St. Louis native, his...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Oct. 31, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, was looking forward to the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Unfortunately for the
St. Louis native, his high hopes ran into a wall of bad luck as the Square D/Cooper Lighting motor expired just 14 laps into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series event, parking Wallace with a 43rd place finish on the day.
"The race was really frustrating because we had so much momentum coming off our Talladega (Ala.) performance," said Wallace. "We had a top-15 race car that was tight at the start of the day. I wasn't worried because I knew Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) and the boys could get the setup fixed during a caution. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the yellow flag. It was a tough situation because we were running top-20 times in practice."
No one will argue that Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, isn't a unique individual. Maybe that is why the St. Louis native looks forward to Sunday's Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).
"When they built Phoenix International Raceway, they were looking for something different," said Wallace. "The stereotypical 1.5-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Series speedway wasn't in their heads at the time. I love that because it's a return to old school racing. Except for turns one and two, it's a nice flat track. It has a tri-oval down the backstretch and a flat corner in turns three and four. It reminds me of a smaller version of Pocono (Pa.) without as much of a dogleg on the backstretch. Phoenix is a lot of fun because you can drive all over the race track. It's like Richmond (Va.) in that you can use the bottom, middle or top grooves. Phoenix is just a cool place to race."
Over the past two seasons, Wallace has seen his share of success at PIR. The Square D/Cooper Lighting pilot has two top-20 performances, including an eighth-place finish in 1998 in which he qualified third for the event. But while Wallace appreciates what's inside PIR, he also enjoys what is outside the one-mile oval.
"I love the atmosphere in Phoenix," said Wallace. "I enjoy traveling across the United States. I really like the whole week leading up to Phoenix. It's one of my favorite times of the year because it's like a mini-vacation.
"Anytime a Winston Cup race is on the West Coast, everyone leaves two or three days early," explained Wallace. "We only get to visit West Coast cities once a year and there's so much to see on those trips. But because Phoenix is so close, my wife and I will get to go to Las Vegas twice this year. We'll spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Las Vegas before we head to the track. We hope to take in a show, eat at some good restaurants and do a little innocent gambling."
Kenny Wallace's Phoenix Performance Profile -------------------------------------------
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings
1999 Dura Lube 500 12 18 Running/311 $38,925
1998 Dura Lube 500 3 8 Running/257 $30,680
1997 Dura Lube 500 21 35 Running/308 $18,520
1996 Dura Lube 500 7 37 Engine/254 $9,525
1995 Dura Lube 500 27 26 Running/309 $9,185
1994 Slick 50 500 11 18 Running/310 $19,195
1993 Slick 50 500 32 17 Running/310 $9,920
1991 Pyroil 500 41 43 Steering/1 $3,000