Sears Point Wally Dallenbach Preview

Dallenbach, Furr believe they can win at Sears Point SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 1998) Wally Dallenbach keeps bouncing back on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and the 35-year-old New Jersey native promises to make the most of his ...

Dallenbach, Furr believe they can win at Sears Point SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 1998) Wally Dallenbach keeps bouncing back on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and the 35-year-old New Jersey native promises to make the most of his latest opportunity behind the wheel of the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point Raceway.

A former road racing champion, Dallenbach says he's confident he can drive the Budweiser Chevy to Victory Lane at the hilly California road course.

"I know I can win races in this series, and I'm confident I can win with the Budweiser team at Sears Point," Dallenbach said. "Crew chief Tony Furr and I get along really, really well, and there isn't a lot of finger-pointing on this team.

"If there's something wrong, they try to fix it. That's nice. The chemistry between Tony and I is great. I know he wants to win, and he knows the Budweiser team has a great opportunity to win at Sears Point."

After Dallenbach's second straight top-10 run, a seventh-place finish last week in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, Furr went so far as to say that Dallenbach will win Sunday's road race.

"Wally is so determined, and he drove the Budweiser Monte Carlo as hard as it would go last week at Pocono," Furr said. "We hurt him in the pits, but we'll work on that and get ready for Sears Point because we're going to win Sears Point.

"We tested at Road Atlanta with Wally last week and had a great test there. We're going to give it all we've got at Sears Point and see if that's good enough to win. I think it will be."

Dallenbach began the 1998 campaign in the No. 46 Chevy owned by Felix Sabates. Sabates and Dallenbach parted company after the ninth race of the season, and Dallenbach became a highly sought after "free agent" in the NASCAR garage.

He didn't hesitate to jump at the chance to drive the Hendrick Motorsports Monte Carlo -- especially at Sears Point.

"You take your opportunities and make the best of 'em," Dallenbach said. "I understand their situation. I understood it going in. If I can run one race for 'em or 25 races for 'em, whatever is meant to be is meant to be. If it works out I run more races, it would be great. If not, I'm sure there'll be another opportunity for me to do something."

Dallenbach has had quite a few opportunities since making his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in 1991 with car owner Junie Donlavey. Dallenbach drove for Jack Roush for two years, spent part of a season with Petty Enterprises, ran only two races in 1995 and drove a full season with Bud Moore in 1996 before joining Sabates in 1997.

With two runner-up finishes behind Mark Martin at Watkins Glen in 1993 and 1995, and a fourth- and third-place finish at Sears Point in 1994 and 1995, respectively, Dallenbach can't wait for a crack at the 10-turn, 1.95-mile road course near California wine country.

"We've been one of the top-five at Sears Point every time we've gone there," Dallenbach said. "Hopefully we can move that up a few notches. If they can maintain my position pit stop wise, that's going to be more than I've had in a long time. I think they'll give me a really good race car there, and I know they're pulling out all the stops for that race. We should be strong. I'd venture to say we'll be one of the top contenders."

Furr, in his first season as crew chief for the No. 50 Budweiser team, agrees with his driver.

"It's been a strange season, but winning a race is all the medicine anybody on this team needs right now," Furr said. "We're all pulling for Ricky Craven to get well and be back with us for the last half of the season, and Randy LaJoie has done a great job filling in while Ricky recuperates.

"But we're really lucky to have Wally driving for us at Sears Point. These NASCAR drivers are getting better and better on the road courses, but only a handful of them can win on the road courses. I think we've got a driver who should be included in that group.

"We've been real impressed with Wally, and we're sure going to do all we can do to help him put that Budweiser Chevy in victory lane at Sears Point. That's beautiful country out there, and everyone has a fun time in California, but it sure would be a lot more fun if we could bring back the winner's trophy to Hendrick Motorsports."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Ricky Craven , Jack Roush , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports