Kenny Wallace ready for "the Open"

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 16, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/ Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, could barely speak after the May 6 Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Wallace looked visibly exhausted as he...

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 16, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/ Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, could barely speak after the May 6 Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Wallace looked visibly exhausted as he talked about how his team clawed its way back from a lap down to finish 20th in the race.

"We got extremely loose and lost a lap early in the race," said Wallace. "We worked our butts off to get back on the lead lap. We were in the top-10 near the end of this thing, and that's all you can ask for. The competition is so tough in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing that all you want is a shot at winning.

"During the last pit stop we got cocky and went for two tires," continued Wallace. "Unfortunately, the car didn't respond the way we had hoped. But from where we were to where we ended up, I'd say we had a good night. Our goal was to finish in the teens, but I'm more proud of how this team rallied. Now we need to focus on our next race and improve on this night."

* * * To Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, The Winston Open is just another test session. While a win Saturday night would be nice for Wallace, he doesn't have to advance into The Winston to have a successful night.

"I look at The Winston Open as a test session for the Coca-Cola 600," said Wallace. "We'll pick the best car for The Winston Open and use it in the 600. If we win Saturday, it's a bonus. I still want to finish strong, but the focus is on testing. If I'm in The Winston, then I'm going wide-open and racing to win.

"In The Winston Open, we'll try out the car with the best setup for a shot at winning the Coca-Cola 600," continued Wallace. "If that car doesn't pass the test Saturday night, then we won't bring it back next weekend."

Wallace will have to douse his competitive fire to focus on what's best for his team. The Square D/ Cooper Lighting pilot will employ a conservative game plan to avoid a big mistake that could hurt the team's season.

"You don't want to take too many chances in The Winston Open because the result of the race isn't as important as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings," added Wallace. "I'm not going to go barreling into that race to try and win it. If you wreck and don't win the thing, you look like a zero. The rewards are not worth the risk."

<pre> Kenny Wallace's The Winston Open Performance Profile - Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1999 The Winston Open 20 9 Running/50 $13,997 1998 The Winston Open 19 15 Running/50 $10,296 1997 The Winston Open 23 23 Running/50 $2,200 1996 The Winston Open 13 11 Running/50 $6,100 1993 The Winston Open 17 22 Running/50 $2,300 1991 *The Winston 17 17 Running/69 $18,000 1990 The Winston Open 24 17 Running/133 $3,500

*Wallace's only appearance in The Winston came when he drove a Felix Sabates-owned Pontiac while substituting for an injured Kyle Petty.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty , Kenny Wallace