PHOENIX, AZ. (March 13, 2000) - After a win at Daytona and a second-place run at Homestead, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points leader Mike Wallace is looking to tame the next stop on the tour - Phoenix International Raceway. "Phoenix...
PHOENIX, AZ. (March 13, 2000) - After a win at Daytona and a second-place run at Homestead, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points leader Mike Wallace is looking to tame the next stop on the tour - Phoenix International Raceway.
"Phoenix is a pretty complex race track to get around," stated Wallace, driver of the #2 Team ASE Ford. "It's a one-mile oval with a dog leg in the back and varied banking all around the track. You have more banking in Turns 3-4 than you do in Turns 1-2. You have to have a good handling truck that can also be adapted to the time of the day as Phoenix is a very temperature sensitive track. You have to worry about the sun getting in your eyes coming down the front straightaway. It takes a lot of horsepower to run well there too. Put it all together and you have a very challenging place."
Wallace knows he'll have to work hard to find the perfect handling package on his Ford F-150 this weekend. Along with Team ASE crew chief Tim Kohuth, Wallace hopes to get dialed in by the time they take the green flag on Saturday.
"You work really hard to get your truck to turn good in the corners at Phoenix," said Wallace. "When you do that, you have to be careful because you have a tendency to get the truck loose coming off the corners. You always have to compromise."
"The toughest place at Phoenix for me is coming off of Turn 2," Wallace continued. "You want to come off the turn right up against that wall and if your truck isn't perfect, you can easily hook the right rear on the fence and scrape the wall. Another tough place is right past the bridge exiting Turn 4. When the sun comes down through there and the way the transition of the race track is there, that's a very tough place. You can get loose very easy there and it's easy to get into the wall because the track narrows up quite a bit heading on to the straight away. You really have to be careful at Phoenix because you can get in trouble in a hurry there."
Last year in the Phoenix NCTS event, Wallace qualified seventh and soldiered on to a 14th-place finish. This year, he hopes to do a lot better.
"I've run well at Phoenix but I don't have good results to show for it," stated Wallace. "We've run up front and had Top-5 finishes there. Still, we've not had anything to brag about. I feel like I have a great opportunity to win the race there this year. Our team is stronger than it ever has been and we got off to a strong start winning at Daytona. The past is past - I'm not worried about what we've previously done at Phoenix. Given the current situation, I'm looking forward to having a great shot at winning at Phoenix."