Top-10 Finish Marred by Late Race Accident, Wallace and the AutoZone Team Finish 29th (August 25, 2006) Bristol, Tenn.-- A top-10 finish quickly came to an end when a late race bump from behind sent Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion...
Top-10 Finish Marred by Late Race Accident, Wallace and the AutoZone Team Finish 29th
(August 25, 2006) Bristol, Tenn.-- A top-10 finish quickly came to an end when a late race bump from behind sent Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion into the wall at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night. Despite a valiant effort to fix the damaged race car, Wallace and the AutoZone team never returned to the track and finished 29th at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile".
The AutoZone team anxiously awaited their return to the famed half-mile track with hopes of following up their eighth-place finish from earlier this year. With the same car in tow, Wallace knew he had a viable shot at a top-10 finish.
"I think everyone knows that Bristol is one of my favorite tracks. I've always ran competitively here. The pressure is on to perform well and I know the guys have given me a car that can take me to the front," Wallace explained.
The one day show started out with practice first thing Friday morning, where Wallace posted the 16th quickest time at 16.017 seconds, 119.798 mph. A few hours later Wallace would return to the track for the second practice session showing 26th on the scoring tower with a time of 15.798 seconds, 121.458 mph.
As the hot sun beat down that afternoon, the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion qualified in the 23rd position for some much anticipated night racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.
When the green flag flew, Wallace quickly realized he would contend with a loose-handling race car.
"The car is loose everywhere. On a scale from one to 10 this thing is an eight," Wallace reported in on Lap 24.
Crew Chief, Todd Gordon called Wallace to pit road when the caution flag flew on Lap 52 for four Goodyear tires, fuel, a track bar and an air pressure adjustment. The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion would restart in the 30th position.
Despite the aggressive changes, Wallace continued to battle a loose-handling race car. Just 20 laps into the run, the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion would return to pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment.
"We didn't want to take any chances and leave Kenny out there for too long. So we brought him back down pit road under caution to try and alleviate the loose handling condition," remarked Todd Gordon.
The changes improved the handling of the race car significantly and Wallace began his charge to the front. By Lap 99, the No. 22 was posted in the second position right behind his brother Mike.
Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion would hold strong in the top-10 for the second half of the race until a late race incident on Lap 219 would send him flying into the wall. The AutoZone team worked feverishly to repair the damages to the front end but the remaining laps would fall short. At the end of the day, the AutoZone team would have to settle for a 29th place finish at Bristol.
"What a disappointment. We were running strong and would have finished in the top-10 if I hadn't gotten tapped from behind. What else can I say .....", explained Wallace.