HARRISBURG, N.C., (March 22, 1999) - Rains that delayed the March 14 start of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway followed teams to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway last Sunday. Heavy showers accompanied by thunder and...
HARRISBURG, N.C., (March 22, 1999) - Rains that delayed the March 14 start of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway followed teams to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway last Sunday.
Heavy showers accompanied by thunder and lightning prompted NASCAR officials to red flag the TranSouth Financial 400 just 45 laps into its scheduled 293-lap format. Two hours and 36 minutes later, the sun was shining brightly, the track was dry and racing resumed. But after 117 more circuits, another batch of dark clouds brought more rain, thunder and lightning over the 1.366-mile oval. With darkness setting in, NASCAR officially called the race at lap 164.
"It was just an odd day with all this rain," said Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace. "I really couldn't develop any type of rhythm at all. But we were still able to make some good runs on the leaders, as we got up into the late teens. But after a great pit stop, I was coming off pit road exiting turn two and Jerry Nadeau didn't see me. He came down into me and caved the whole right side in. After that, we started to push."
Wallace ended the day in 23rd position - the same spot from which he started the race. * * *
It's been said that everything's bigger in Texas. Last year at the Texas 500, Square D pilot Kenny Wallace had a headache so big not even Excedrin could cure it.
In the first practice session, a seized wheel bearing sent Wallace into the wall. Out came the backup car, and with very little practice time, Wallace placed it 31st on the grid. But before he could make even one lap around the 1.5-mile oval, the St. Louis native was collected in a multi-car wreck in turn one.
A new team coupled with a slightly reconfigured racing surface is the combination Wallace needs to run up front in Sunday's Primestar 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"The trouble we had at Texas last year was that the outside groove was no man's land," said Wallace. "It was full of marbles, and you just couldn't race side-by-side. From what I hear, they've done a really good job of rebuilding it. When we head to Texas this time, it should be faster and more adhesive."
Despite Texas' similar layout to its sister tracks in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, looks can be deceiving.
"It's a totally different race track, even though the measurements are roughly the same," said Wallace. "When you go down into turn one, the banking isn't there to hold you at the start of the corner. That makes it rough. Turn one gives you a loose feeling.
"Coming off turn two is awfully tricky too, because the race track gets flat right away as you come off the corner. Then it's a very fast entrance into turn three.
"The biggest complaint last year from all the drivers was turn four," continued Wallace. "You had to keep the car totally turning coming off turn four because the wall came up so quick. Hopefully, they laid a little bit more banking there so we can race each other better."