CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 28, 2000) - Not even gas mileage could keep a determined Kenny Wallace from posting his best finish of the season. The Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet driver snared 13th place in Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350K NASCAR ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 28, 2000) - Not even gas mileage could keep a determined Kenny Wallace from posting his best finish of the season. The Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet driver snared 13th place in Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350K NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Sears Point Raceway.
Wallace's top-15 performance wasn't easy as the Square D/Cooper Lighting pilot battled a fuel mileage problem that limited him to 18 gallons of gas per stop. Wallace's Chevy normally holds 22 gallons of fuel, but a defective flapper valve in the overflow tube wouldn't close properly, splashing gas out of the race car and onto the track.
"I noticed the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy sputtering like it was about to run out of gas after long runs," recalled Wallace. "The fuel pressure gauge was fluctuating during high left and right-hand turns. It started about 25 laps after refueling, so I knew we had a fuel mileage problem. The race car should have been able to go about 35 laps without running out of gas. Our spotter (Bart Creasman) said he could see gas spewing out of the Chevy up to two laps after each pit stop."
Wallace took the lead in the race on lap 70 by staying out as the leaders pitted under caution. It was the first time that the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy driver had led a race since last season at Martinsville (Va.) in October. Wallace held onto the lead until lap 86. Jeff Gordon took over the front spot, passing the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy with fresher tires.
* * *
Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, loves the nighttime. Wallace posted a 15th place finish last year in NASCAR Winston Cup Series' version of the "mid-summer night classic"- the Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. But what is it that makes the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy driver perform so well after the sun sets? The answer could explain a lot of things about the St. Louis native.
"I do better during the night at Daytona because I'm part vampire," said Wallace. "I have more fun racing at night. Some people just run well under certain situations, and I guess you could call me 'the nightrider'."
While vampires are strictly fictional, Wallace's positive attitude isn't. The Square D/Cooper Lighting pilot hopes to improve upon last year's success on the 2.5-mile tri-oval with a little inspiration from the U.S. Navy.
"We're getting a little support from the world's finest military fleet- the U.S. Navy," said Wallace. "We're putting a special Patrol Squadron Sixteen Naval decal on the B-post of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy. It's something we're doing to honor our country this Fourth of July weekend, and I'm proud to support the men and women who protect our country. Racing stock cars is dangerous, but what those men and women have done for this country makes Winston Cup racing look like riding a golf cart.
"The key to going down to Daytona for the Fourth of July is to just stay cool," added Wallace about the Pepsi 400. "It's a completely different atmosphere than the Daytona 500. The track is still very slippery at night even though it's cooler. I remember last year we were struggling early on. We had a great pit stop that turned things around, and I was able to get aggressive with the race car and move up into the top-15. Last year, we lost our primary car in practice while we were making some qualifying runs. The car got loose, sending me into the wall, and we had to go to our backup car. I just think if we can get through practice and qualifying with our primary car, we should be okay."
<pre> Kenny Wallace's Daytona Performance Profile ------------ Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Earnings 2000 Daytona 500 39 29 Running/198 $89,275 1999 Daytona 500 33 42 Engine/92 $86,026 Pepsi 400 28 15 Running/160 $43,795 1998 Pepsi 400 28 35 Engine/113 $27,555 1997 Daytona 500 36 22 Running/200 $65,465 Pepsi 400 27 11 Running/160 $30,565 1996 Daytona 500 33 21 Running/199 $40,685 Pepsi 400 21 38 Accident/100 $13,090 1993 Daytona 500 24 23 Running/199 $27,820 Pepsi 400 32 28 Running/79 $9,305