Michigan Dallenbach Flies High

Dallenbach flying high with Hendrick Motorsports By Shawn A. Akers BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 16, 1998) Don't think for a second that Wally Dallenbach isn't more than a little bit excited, and happy, to be driving a NASCAR Winston Cup Series car...

Dallenbach flying high with Hendrick Motorsports By Shawn A. Akers

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 16, 1998) Don't think for a second that Wally Dallenbach isn't more than a little bit excited, and happy, to be driving a NASCAR Winston Cup Series car for Hendrick Motorsports for at least the rest of the 1998 season. Dallenbach, who replaced Ricky Craven as the driver of the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet earlier this week, continued his string of successful runs in that car on Sunday, earning his third top-10 finish in four starts with the team in 1998 with an eighth-place run in the Pepsi 400 presented by DeVilbiss at Michigan Speedway.

When Dallenbach was subbing for the injured Craven in the No. 50 Chevy in June, he turned in finishes of 10th in the Miller Lite 400 at Michigan, seventh in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, and 27th in the Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point.

After a pair of mediocre performances behind the wheel of the No. 13 FirstPlus Financial Ford of Bill Elliott's (he finished 25th at Pocono and 40th in the Brickyard 400), Dallenbach was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to finish out the remainder of the year in the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet when Craven and the organization "parted ways" early this past week.

Dallenbach responded with a solid top-10 at the Roger Penske-owned two-mile facility on Sunday.

"The Bud guys gave me a great car today," said Dallenbach, who has struggled to find his niche on the circuit in the 1990s. "Our goal is top-15s and keep plugging this thing away and build on something. We made the right calls today. They know we're for real. If they can do that next week at Bristol (in the Goody's 500), they're my heroes."

Dallenbach, who qualified seventh during Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday, actually had thoughts of getting to Victory Lane on Sunday as he stayed in the top-10 consistently throughout the 400-mile event.

On the last pit stop within the final 20 laps, however, the call was to put on four tires and Dallenbach didn't have much for the leaders.

"It (taking on four tires) loosed up the car a little too much," said Tony Furr, crew chief of the No. 50 Chevrolet. "We took two tires at the time before that because our pit stops were still not where they needed to be. I loosened the car up a little bit too much for the last run."

"We loosened up the car on that last yellow and when we got up around other cars, it got too loose," Dallenbach said. "I just couldn't hang on. We really thought we had a shot at winning here, but we were just a tick off. The car was comfortable, but we need to get a little more speed out of it. We kept adjusting on it and got it pretty good, but we got it just a little too loose at the end and couldn't race with 'em. I think it would have been fun to get up there and race with Jeremy (Mayfield) and the 36 car (Ernie Irvan)." With four races together under their belts in recent weeks, both Dallenbach and Furr have adjusted to each other's styles somewhat, making the near future for the No. 50 Budweiser team a potentially bright one.

"Wally and I are learning each other right now," Furr said. "I'm going to do what I think is right. I either win or lose. There's no doubt in my mind that we can win a race this year.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Ernie Irvan , Ricky Craven , Roger Penske
Teams Hendrick Motorsports