Dallenbach drives the fine line at Talladega Wally Dallenbach enjoys racing at Talladega Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 25 Budweiser Monte Carlo realizes he must drive on a fine line at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. "You've got to ...
Dallenbach drives the fine line at Talladega
Wally Dallenbach enjoys racing at Talladega Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 25 Budweiser Monte Carlo realizes he must drive on a fine line at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
"You've got to drive looking through your mirror as much as your windshield at Talladega," Dallenbach said. "It shouldn't be that way, but there's no way around it. It's just so much more competitive than it used to be at the superspeedways.
"You have to concentrate hard at all of the tracks, but you have to concentrate extra hard all the time at Talladega. You cannot afford to make the slightest mistake. If you get out of shape leaning on somebody, you'd better tidy things up.
"You're always racing on a fine line, but that fine line is even sharper at Talladega."
Dallenbach and the No. 25 Budweiser team, led by veteran crew chief Tony Furr, qualified 11th and finished 20th in April at Talladega. Although Dallenbach and company experienced some late-race problems in that event, the 36-year-old New Jersey native expects smoother sailing this time around.
"We went to Talladega and had a horrible test last time, but we went back to the shop and changed everything in the car except the driver's seat," Dallenbach said. "It went from a car that probably couldn't even make the race to a car that had a chance to win it."
Dallenbach ran with the leaders most of the day but had problems coming up to speed on green flag restarts late in the race.
"I don't know if it was the transmission or what, but it took an extra lap to get up to speed," Dallenbach said. "On that last pit stop, we got four tires and got lined up. I'm sure that hole in the right front quarter panel didn't help, but I got with Sterling Marlin and we caught 'em on the last lap. Of course, it was too late then. Too bad we didn't have another 10 laps to race.
"The car was excellent and the stops were pretty good. We had a top-10 car and maybe even a top-five car, but we keep leaving those finishes on the table. It was a stressful day, but all you can do is pick up and go on to the next week. You've just got to make the best of it. If you've got a 20th-place car and finish 20th, that's OK, but if you've got a top-five car and finish 20th, that's a big letdown.
"Talladega has always been a good track for me. If we can qualify up front, maybe we'll be ahead of that big crash and have a good finish. You don't think about the potential for that big wreck at Talladega. You're too busy to really think about it, but it's inevitable if something happens that it's going to take out a bunch of cars.
"I've been in some pretty good wrecks at Talladega, and it seems like you're in slow motion when everything starts. You're not sure it's ever going to end."
Dallenbach stands 16th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings with five races remaining. He's just 88 points out of 14th place and realizes the team has a legitimate shot at winning a race and moving up in the standings before the season ends.
"We got three top 10 finishes in four races and moved from 21st to 15th in the standings this summer," Dallenbach said. "If we can get on a roll in these last five races, we could climb up the ladder again. We've got a lot of good tracks coming up, so we'll buckle up tight and see what happens."