CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 16, 1999) - All of the ingredients were there for a top-10 finish by Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace in Sunday's Frontier at The Glen. A fast race car, clever pit strategy and a tenacious drive had Wallace as high...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 16, 1999) - All of the ingredients were there for a top-10 finish by Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace in Sunday's Frontier at The Glen. A fast race car, clever pit strategy and a tenacious drive had Wallace as high as second in the running order.
But when the brakes on the Square D Chevy began to fade with 45 laps remaining in the 90-lap event, Wallace had to take what he could get. That meant settling for a 19th place finish.
"We're lucky to come out with 19th," said Wallace. "We just lost the brakes on our car. It had no stopping power. I had to slow down real bad in the chicane twice because I missed it (the chicane). It killed me on a lot of passing points."
Rock, paper, scissors. You know how the game is played. Rock crushes scissors. Paper covers rock. Scissors cut paper.
At Michigan Speedway, site of this Sunday's Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer, a variation of rock, paper, scissors will play out. It's called horsepower, fuel mileage, pit strategy. Horsepower crushes pit strategy. Fuel mileage covers horsepower. Pit strategy cuts fuel mileage.
Some recent examples: In the June race at Michigan, Dale Jarrett left everyone in the dust with a dominating display of horsepower. Bobby Labonte out-fueled the rest of his competitors in both Michigan races in 1995. And Jeff Gordon took two tires while everyone else took four in last year's Pepsi 400 en route to scoring his eighth win of the season.
As evidenced, there are different ways to win races at Michigan. Any way suits Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace just fine.
"It's a difficult track to find speed," said Wallace. "But it seems like there's always somebody who really sets the pace out there. I really appreciate the place because it's nice and wide. You can race all over it - on the bottom, in the middle or on the top. Last time we were there, Dale Jarrett was so fast it didn't matter where he ran. But everybody behind him was trying different lines, with a lot of them running a really high line. It's a great place to race. I don't care if we raced at Michigan all the time.
"Michigan has typically come down to fuel mileage. I tend not to use my brakes very much on big tracks like Michigan. My crew tells me that my driving style, because I don't use brakes a lot, gives me good fuel mileage. My guys do a great job in calculating my fuel mileage too. So, we're always competitive when a race comes down to fuel mileage. It's something we're always conscious of, so we try to make our pit stop calls accordingly."