CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 1, 2000) -- NASCAR Winston Cup Series races are not sprints; they are marathons. Kenny Wallace proved that point July 23 at Pocono Raceway, as he posted a 21st place finish in the Pennsylvania 500. In a field of 43 ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 1, 2000) -- NASCAR Winston Cup Series races are not sprints; they are marathons. Kenny Wallace proved that point July 23 at Pocono Raceway, as he posted a 21st place finish in the Pennsylvania 500.
In a field of 43 Winston Cup drivers, 14 fell victim to the raceway, ending their day behind the wall as the checkered flag waved. Of those 14 drivers who didn't finish the race, 10 suffered engine trouble in their race cars due to the rough conditions of the 2.5-mile tri-oval. To combat Pocono's demand on race engines, the Square D Racing Team used a conservative approach for the 500-mile haul.
"If you can't outrun them, you've got to outlast them, and that's what we did today," said Wallace. "The key to this race was consistency, and we were able to maintain top speeds without hurting our motor. Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) made some pit stop adjustments that gave me a great handling race car. We were able to pass people in the corners instead of relying on the engine during the straightaways."
With his ninth top-25 finish of the season, Wallace picked up 100 Winston Cup points and jumped two spots in the point standings to 29th. It was the first time since the second week of the season that the Square D Racing Team has been in the top-30. The team has improved its consistency as Wallace has five top-25s in the last six races.
There are some weekends that really fire up NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers. Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, knows that Saturday's Brickyard 400 isn't just "another one of them racing deals."
"Don't let anyone lie to you, you do feel different when you walk into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS)," said Wallace. "It's sacred ground. It's a feeling you can't get at another race track. I still don't feel comfortable being there because for so many years, the IMS has been about Indy cars. Yeah, we're happy to be there. Yeah, I'm glad Winston Cup has a race there because it's the 'big-time.' But, when I think of IMS, I think of Indy cars on Gasoline Alley, not stock cars."
As you can see, Wallace admits feeling a little unworthy everytime he goes to the 2.5-mile oval. The St. Louis-native has watched Indy cars compete in the Indianapolis 500 since he was a little child. That is why he is so anxious to showcase his skills on one of motorsport's biggest stages.
"There's not so much pressure as there's your pride on the line," added Wallace. "With everyone watching, you want to go to Indy and unload your best race car. It's like going to Daytona (Fla.) or Talladega (Ala.); you bring your best gun for the big gun fights. The drivers and crew chiefs are pulling out all the stops for this one because it's something they have been dreaming of since they were little."
So much importance is placed on establishing Winston Cup history at the monumental motor speedway, that NASCAR mandated testing dates for all teams. While Wallace didn't necessarily agree with the rule, he isn't protesting too loudly.
"I think testing should be an individual preference," said Wallace. "You should be allowed to test where and when you want to test. I will say this; everyone needs to test for the Brickyard. Everyone needs to know where they stand before the get to IMS because the rules change every year. You can't afford to go to the big show unprepared. Everyone from rookies to past winners needs to test at Indy or Daytona because they're the race tracks that you want to have your best racing performance."