Race Recap: Today marked a career milestone for young Steve Wallace, as the 19 year-old captured his first career NASCAR Busch Series pole, in what was only his 24th career Busch Series qualifying attempt. His qualifying lap of 15.303 seconds ...
Today marked a career milestone for young Steve Wallace, as the 19 year-old captured his first career NASCAR Busch Series pole, in what was only his 24th career Busch Series qualifying attempt. His qualifying lap of 15.303 seconds (125.387 MPH) saw him ironically, topple his father's former Penske Racing teammate, Ryan Newman from the pole at the track which the elder Wallace once dominated. In doing so, the teenager bested a field that included 20 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers.
The Sharpie Mini 300 rolled off just after 3:00 PM and Steve Wallace made the most of his pole position at the start of the race. Wallace led Nextel Cup Series past winners Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman through just over the first 1/10 of the race. Wallace led the first 32 laps until contact from Edwards forced him up the racetrack and back to sixth position.
On lap 59, while running in the sixth position, Steve made contact with the lapped car of #14--Kyle Krisiloff. Krisiloff's vehicle spun and slid back up the race track and into the Wallace's left side door. The contact caused Wallace's Dodge to spin down the frontstretch. He did not make contact with the retaining wall, but did lose all of his well-earned track position after having to come down pit road to make repairs from the contact with Krisiloff.
Following the spin, Wallace found himself in 30th position for the lap 66 restart, but he would not remain there long. The 19 year-old stormed through the field, breaking back into the top-25 by lap 84 and into the top-20 by lap 103.
When the caution flew on lap 111, Wallace had successfully held off the leaders to remain on the lead lap and found himself in the 19th position. The HomeLife Communities team held their own in the pits and Wallace restarted the race from the 19th position on lap 118.
Unfortunately for the HomeLife Communities team, the earlier spin positioned the team to be back among slower traffic and it ended up biting them. On lap 120, several slower cars in front of Wallace made contact, causing a multiple car accident. Wallace was hit from behind by #16--Todd Kleuver while attempting to avoid the wreck and was forced into the outside wall.
The Bryant Frazier-led RWI Racing team quickly enacted repairs to Wallace's badly damaged Dodge and returned to competition approximately 35 laps down to the leaders. By repairing the vehicle, the team managed to gain five positions and finish the race in the 31st position.
Steve Wallace, Driver: "Man, today sure started out well. The car was great in qualifying and I was really excited to get my first career pole with HomeLife Communities on board. We led for a little while there, but the 60 car was a little bit faster and he moved me up the racetrack. We fell back to sixth and were still looking good, but I just got a little too impatient with the 14 car. It's not really that I was that impatient, I just never expected him to be running as slowly as he was. I ended up getting into the back of him and tearing up our car as well.
After that, it just put us in the back of the pack and in all of the mess where you expect crashes to happen. Unfortunately, one did and we ended up getting in it. Bristol's kind of like Daytona and Talladega; it's pretty much a crapshoot as to whether or not you're going to end up getting in someone else's accident. I hate it for everyone.
Today was set to be a good day, but it just didn't end up that way. We're all really excited about going to Nashville though. That's a race that we've had circled all year as one of our best chances to win. We ran in the top-five and top-ten all day there last year until we had an exhaust problem at the very end. I really like running there and I'm excited about our chances to get both the pole and this time, the win."
Bryant Frazier, Crew Chief: "I've been telling everyone forever now about how talented Steve is and how much better he gets each and every week. Today, he really showed everyone what he can do, despite only having run 20- something Busch races. To go out there and sit on the pole at one of the toughest tracks on the circuit, against 20 Nextel Cup drivers is really something to be proud of. I'm just that; I'm proud of the effort that Steve and everyone else at our team is putting in. We're all excited about going to Nashville and can't wait to get there in a couple of weeks. We ran really well there last year and are looking at that race as one of our best chances to win in 2007."