Kenny Wallace, driver of the No. 22 Ford, climbed to sixth place in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings following his second-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend. Wallace, who has one victory and 17 top-10 finishes in...
Kenny Wallace, driver of the No. 22 Ford, climbed to sixth place in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings following his second-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend. Wallace, who has one victory and 17 top-10 finishes in 23 Busch starts Bristol, shared his thoughts on his team's turnaround from a disappointing 37th-place finish at Daytona.
KENNY WALLACE-22-Stacker 2 Ford Taurus
"I'm not an idiot and I don't like to tell people, 'Yeah, all of a sudden I'm just driving harder, and we're just riding a wave.' In reality, cars just don't pick up speed because the driver gets jacked up or the crew chief. The reality of it is Wes Ward (crew chief) needed to fill a couple of more holes in our race team. We did not have a shock man at the start of the year because there were none available. We were lucky to get Mike Cluka at a point this early in the season. That really filled a big void for us because that's what he does. And then our current engineer Dan Dittberner, he was part of the championship team with Jeff Green, but what happened was Greg Pollex moved him over to the Cup team last season. We lost our engineer to Michel Jourdain before the beginning of the season. Todd Gordon went to Michel Jourdain's team to be the crew chief, so we had two holes before the season started. Even though we had more motor and better bodies we needed to fill a couple of voids. Those two people, they've given us much more in terms of resources to work with. We've got to have the tools. There's not one crew chief in this whole garage area, Busch or Cup, that knows it all, and I just really think that's the wave we're riding right now."
EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE BEEN HERE MANY TIMES IN YOUR CAREER, HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GET ON THE TRACK TODAY? "A veteran like me, usually what I would do is make sure I was about the 20th car out just to let them get all of the debris off of the track. But, everybody has warned me it's going to rain, so I had to get out there because I've never driven this car before and I wanted to get out there right away before the rain came. I think there are different situations. Last week in Nashville there was Hoosier rubber on the track and we didn't want to go out, and this week it was threatening rain and it's the opposite, we wanted to get out there. I think sometimes that plays into why you're either hurrying or chilling out."
WITH BUSCH SERIES QUALIFYING BEING THE FIRST TRACK ACTIVITY TOMORROW, IS THERE A CONCERN WITH A GREEN RACE TRACK? "I know this, I'm going to go after it as it is. As a driver, I go smoking down into that corner like it's going to stick, and if it doesn't stick I adjust. You really do ride that race car. You know where you want to be and if it doesn't end up there then you knows it's not going to be the lap you want. Yeah, I think the track's probably going to be faster, but it's probably going to be different if it does rain."
THE BUSCH SERIES COMPETED LAST WEEK AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY, ANOTHER CONCRETE VENUE. DO YOU FEEL THAT EXPERIENCE WILL HELP YOU THIS WEEKEND WITH A HANDFUL OF CUP COMPETITORS RUNNING THE SHARPIE 250? "I'm honest when I say this, I have so much respect for this sport that I never think that a week of racing is going to make me better than those guys. I always think that I need a week more of practice so I can be even with those guys. I know that we didn't have a lot of the Cup drivers with us last week, but a lot of their teams were there with others drivers. I would assume that since the 90 didn't race last week that they probably tested here. If they didn't test here they probably had somebody up here testing and they probably got some importation. The way I look at it, and this is just the way I feel, I'm a Cup driver. I have 300-plus Cup starts and I just happen to be running Busch right now. Nothing made me happier last week than to know that Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Sterling Marlin and Kasey Kahne were there and we raced them. Granted, they weren't in their Cup equipment, but those guys are beatable. It's just that the equipment they're in, they get the most out of their resources."
YOU COMMENTED LAST WEEKEND IN NASHVILLE THAT LAPPED TRAFFIC WAS A PROBLEM. IS IT GOING TO BE A BIGGER ISSUE THIS WEEK, AND IS THERE SOMETHING NASCAR CAN DO TO RECTIFY THE SITUATION? "Yes, it's going to be an issue. I think that NASCAR, in the driver's meeting, will make sure that those guys go high. Each track that we go to favors a groove and this track favors the bottom line. Those guys, when they see a car coming, they've got to go high. Hey, if somebody is hounding me, I go high and I let them go. That's the only way that I know how to finish a race here at Bristol. You have to let them go. When you look in your mirror and you see somebody really close in on you, you've got to let them go or they've got to move you. I got moved by Harry Gant, Jack Ingram, Tommy Ellis and Tommy Houston. They taught me. It's an issue and they're going to have to move and get up high."