CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 20, 1999) - Square D Chevrolet crew chief Jimmy Elledge made the astute call for a gas-and-go pit stop during the last caution period of the July 11 Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. With 91 laps left...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 20, 1999) - Square D Chevrolet crew chief Jimmy Elledge made the astute call for a gas-and-go pit stop during the last caution period of the July 11 Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. With 91 laps left in the 300-lap race, Elledge calculated that driver Kenny Wallace could make it to the finish without having to make another pit stop. Elledge surmised that if the race stayed green, Wallace could outlast the thirstier race cars in front of him.
Elledge's hypothesis proved correct. With no more cautions for the remainder of the event, car after car was forced to pit for fuel. From 17th place and the last car on the lead lap, Wallace found himself in second place 1.347 seconds behind winner Jeff Burton when the checkered flag waved. The finish was a career-best for Wallace, and moved him into 21st place in the championship point standings heading into this Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. He is now just five points away from 20th, 15 points shy of 19th and 55 points short of 18th.
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When Rusty Wallace cut a tire and slammed the first turn wall just a handful of laps into the June 20 Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, younger brother Kenny almost followed suit. Heading down the front straightaway at close to 200 mph, Kenny felt the telltale vibration of a flat tire on lap 19.
"I was pretty lucky," said the Square D pilot. "When I cut that tire down, I felt it right as I reached the end of the grandstands - when you're still running 190 mph or something. As soon as I felt it, I got on the brakes hard. Still, I only missed the wall by 20 feet. But when you're going that fast, it feels like it's only a foot away.
"The worst part of the deal was blowing the tire going into turn one. By the time I limped all the way around the race track, got the pit stop done and everything - we were two laps down. I felt like we had anywhere from an eighth to probably a 15th place race car. We just stayed out there and ran real competitive. We didn't lose any more laps and we ended up 25th. It made for a difficult day, but to run in Winston Cup, no matter what problems you have, you've got to overcome them and just keep running hard."
Running hard is the only speed the Square D Racing Team knows. Heading into this Sunday's Pennsylvania 500, Wallace and Company will continue their hard-charging ways.
"Even though I've been to Pocono a bunch of times," said Wallace, "the June race was the first time I had been there with APR (Andy Petree Racing) and Jimmy Elledge (crew chief). We know what we need to do now. Our practice sessions can be more productive because we already know what helps the car. We've got good horsepower - both for qualifying and the race. We're ready."
Kenny Wallace's Pocono Performance Profile -----------------------------
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 1999 Pocono 500 21 25 Running/198 $33,765 1998 Pocono 500 13 39 Engine/85 $12,915 Pennsylvania 500 8 35 Valve/168 $21,490 1997 Pocono 500 30 34 Running/196 $20,105 Pennsylvania 500 18 34 Running/195 $17,790 1996 UAW-GM 500 38 37 Engine/70 $8,645 Miller 500 25 36 Engine/175 $8,900 1995 Miller 500 34 37 Accident/149 $8,515 1993 Champion 500 31 15 Running/199 $11,615 Miller 500 30 23 Running/197 $10,215