Wally Dallenbach Martinsville Preview

Wally Dallenbach admits he's not an avid baseball fan, but he'll be trying to do his best Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa imitation on Sunday in the NAPA AutoCare 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Dallenbach's No. 25 Budweiser ...

Wally Dallenbach admits he's not an avid baseball fan, but he'll be trying to do his best Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa imitation on Sunday in the NAPA AutoCare 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

Dallenbach's No. 25 Budweiser Monte Carlo will carry a special World Series paint scheme during the four NASCAR Winston Cup races in October, and Sunday's 263-mile race at the .526-mile track will be Dallenbach's first opportunity to swing for the bleachers.

"They told me to try to knock one into the cheap seats, but I wasn't quite sure what they were talking about," Dallenbach said. "This is a great promotion Budweiser and Major League Baseball have going, and I'd love to help them out by being NASCAR's Mr. October.

"Of course, I wouldn't mind being Mr. April, May or June, either. Any month would be fine with me to win a race, but since it's October, now would be a perfect time to put the Budweiser Chevy in victory lane."

Dallenbach, a 36-year-old New Jersey native, will come to Martinsville fresh off a 15th-place run last week at Dover Downs International Speedway that moved him up two spots to 15th in the season-long Winston Cup standings. Dallenbach started 39th at Dover but wasted little time moving to the front when the green flag fell.

"Everybody went to work and turned it around," Dallenbach said. "We really weren't that good before the race. We didn't qualify that well, but the car came to life in the race.

"We were good on the long runs after 10 or 15 laps. We needed the long green flag runs, and we got some of those Sunday. That helped us get a good finish."

Dallenbach would need to gain only 89 points Sunday at Martinsville to jump two more positions in the series standings. He's 74 points behind 14th-place Bobby Hamilton and 89 points behind Ken Schrader in 13th position.

Still looking for his first top-10 finish in nine career starts at Martinsville, Dallenbach enters the final short track race of the season with plenty of confidence.

"Martinsville is short track racing at its best or worst, depending on the way you look at it," Dallenbach said. "I prefer to look at it as short track racing at its best. I really like racing at Martinsville a lot more than I do some of the other short tracks.

"Tony Furr (crew chief) has a good setup for Martinsville, and if we can get a good starting spot, I think we'll be in pretty good shape. Last year we had a problem qualifying there because we got an early draw. You don't want to be one of the first five to go out for qualifying, but you're at the mercy of the draw on that one.

"Track position means a lot at any track, but it really means a lot on the short tracks. Still, if you've got a good car, you're going to go to the front. If your stuff is good, and you can stay out of trouble, you're going to get there."

Sunday's event will be the final short track race of the season. Eleven different winners have emerged in the last 11 short track races, and Dallenbach would like to see that streak continue.

"It's good for the sport to see different winners," Dallenbach said. "It doesn't matter if it's on a short track or not. Right now, six drivers have won 22 of 27 races this season. That's usually the way it goes, but it's great to see different drivers win.

"John Andretti came out of nowhere to win at Martinsville in the spring, so maybe we can do something like that in the fall. Then I really wouldn't mind being called Mr. October."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Bobby Hamilton , Ken Schrader