Hard Fought Finish for Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Team, Finish 29th at Chicago (Joliet, Ill.) July 8, 2006 -- The unfortunate bad luck that has plagued Kenny Wallace at Chicagoland Speedway continued this weekend as Wallace brought the No.
Hard Fought Finish for Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Team, Finish 29th at Chicago
(Joliet, Ill.) July 8, 2006 -- The unfortunate bad luck that has plagued Kenny Wallace at Chicagoland Speedway continued this weekend as Wallace brought the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion home in the 29th position among a field of 20 full-time NEXTEL Cup regular drivers.
The NASCAR Busch series (NBS) race proved to be popular event among the NEXTEL Cup regulars as 20 entered to compete in Saturday's USG Durock 300. The race marked the highest number of Cup regulars entered in one NBS race this season.
"We knew we had some work to do on the car as soon as the first practice session got under way. For some reason the handling in turns one and two eluded us. We were great in turns three and four, bad in turns one and two. I just couldn't find a groove that worked with the handling of the AutoZone Ford," explained Wallace.
Wallace posted the eleventh quickest time in first practice with a speed of 172.177 mph. Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford picked up some speed in the second practice session posting 173.132 mph, 21st on the practice sheets. Optimistic that the handling problems were cured, Wallace placed the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion in the 14th qualifying position for Saturday afternoon's race.
As the green flag flew under bright sunny skies in Chicago, the team quickly realized that the handling problems had returned. Wallace reported in "a throttle-tight condition in turns one and two" on lap 10. Fortunately the caution flag was displayed just five laps later and Wallace brought the No. 22 AutoZone Ford down pit road for four new Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Back out on the track and restarting in the 28th position, Wallace and the AutoZone team hoped the changes would solve the ill-handling condition. Nine laps into the green flag run, Wallace would report in "the changes did not help me; the car is about the same."
Despite multiple pit stops throughout the 300-mile event, the AutoZone Ford Fusion was never able to break into the top-20.
"The front end just collapsed on me in turns one and two. I couldn't drive the AutoZone Ford on the bottom of the track. If I did I, would slide across the track. I did the best I could to stay out of the way and bring the No. 22 AutoZone Ford home in one piece. The guys never gave up on me and I wasn't about to give up on them," explained Wallace.
The AutoZone team pitted seven times throughout the day to try and alleviate some of the handling woes. Wallace broke out of the 30th position with two laps remaining, where he crossed the start/finish line in the 29th position.
"We had a bad weekend, it happens. We'll leave here with our heads held high and go on to Loudon," Wallace concluded.