CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 21, 2000) - In the movie "Heartbreak Ridge," Clint Eastwood's character instructed young Marines at boot camp to "improvise, adapt and overcome." It was a motto taught to young Marines to apply to unforeseen problems that...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 21, 2000) - In the movie "Heartbreak Ridge," Clint Eastwood's character instructed young Marines at boot camp to "improvise, adapt and overcome." It was a motto taught to young Marines to apply to unforeseen problems that might confront soldiers in battle.
In the world of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing, Clint Eastwood's character would've been a crew chief, and the name of the movie would've been the Pocono 500. In this film, the Square D Racing Team would have made its sergeant proud by overcoming serious setback en route to a 23rd place finish at Pocono Raceway.
During the warm-up laps prior to Monday's race, the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet's left front sway bar adjuster broke. As the race began, driver Kenny Wallace was slowed by extreme tire vibrations in the front of the race car, which hindered his lap time around the 2.5-mile tri-oval, and dropped him back to 40th place.
"I noticed something was wrong with the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy during the warm-up laps," said Wallace. "It wasn't obvious what the problem was until the race started and the car was at high speeds. The race car was rolling over like a pickup truck. Fortunately, our guys responded quickly, and we were able to turn a bad situation into a top-25 finish."
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Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, knows that road racing requires NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers to adapt to a new style of driving. Wallace has accepted the challenge, and he hopes that Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350K at Sears Point in Sonoma, Calif., will dispel any rumors that stock car competitors don't know how to turn right.
"In road course racing, you need to hit your marks as well as you can," said Wallace. "There are a lot of opportunities to mess up on that track. It's pretty common for a few drivers to destroy their cars at Sonoma in qualifying, something that isn't as common in oval racing. Quality backup race cars are pretty important at this event, but I'm not too worried, our team has collected a lot of data on road racing, and we have the speeding tickets to prove it."
"The road courses demand a different mind set than oval tracks," continued Wallace. "All year long we're worried about turning left, left, left. This weekend we'll have to go left and right, while shifting and braking more often. A lot of drivers have been going down to the local road course facilities around the Carolinas to prepare for Sunday. We didn't, but our teammates on the 33 team did. That's one of the advantages for a two-car team; we get to share information."
But road racing won't be the only thing on the St. Louis native's mind this week. Wallace is mixing business with pleasure as he brings his wife, Kim, and his 13-year-old daughter, Brooke, to the West Coast.
"Kim and I are taking Brooke to see the sites in San Francisco," said Wallace. "We're trying to get her more "worldly," if you know what I mean. We're going to take her to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz. At the Wharf, we're going to check out the seals that sit and play on those docks, and I know she's seen TV specials on Alcatraz, so she's looking forward to the trip. We give each girl one trip a year, and this is hers. Even though my busy travel does keep me away from home, you've got to make the most of a tough situation, and this is one way of doing that.
<pre> Kenny Wallace's Sears Point Performance Profile -------- Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1999 Save Mart/Kragen 350 19 14 Running/112 $33,025 1998 Save Mart/Kragen 350 22 22 Running/112 $28,940 1997 Save Mart 300 36 36 Accident/61 $30,850 1996 Save Mart 300 33 27 Running/74 $10,705 1993 Save Mart 300 21 36 Running/66 $6,665