Wallace and the AutoZone Team Battle Handling Problems to Finish 16th at Dover (Dover, DE) -- Weather once again played a factor entering into Saturday's Stonebridgeracing.com 200 at Dover International Speedway. Due to rain leading up to ...
Wallace and the AutoZone Team Battle Handling Problems to Finish 16th at Dover
(Dover, DE) -- Weather once again played a factor entering into Saturday's Stonebridgeracing.com 200 at Dover International Speedway. Due to rain leading up to Saturday's event, qualifying was cancelled and the field was lined up by owner's points, placing Kenny Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion in the 14th starting position.
"We were ok with lining up by owners points, if qualifying had gone as planned we felt that the No. 22 AutoZone Ford would have placed somewhere around 14th anyway," stated crew chief Todd Gordon.
NASCAR made the call to start the Stonebridgeracing.com 200 ten minutes earlier than the scheduled 3:40 pm green flag drop. At 3:30 pm the green flag flew and Wallace set his sights on the front of the field. Wallace maintained his position until lap 21 when he radioed in a loose handling condition and began to slide back in the field. Just ten laps later the caution flag flew and Wallace was able to bring the No. 22 AutoZone Ford down pit road for some much needed adjustments. The AutoZone crew quickly went to work with four fresh tires, fuel, a track bar and air pressure adjustments in the rear. Wallace resumed the race in the 18th position.
Despite the adjustments, Wallace continued to report in a loose handling race car. "The car is too loose in traffic and loose on entry," Wallace radioed in to the crew.
As the green flag laps continued, Wallace kept the AutoZone Ford Fusion out of harms way and maintained his 18th place position in the 43 car field. When the caution flag flew again on lap 120, Wallace was the recipient of the "Lucky Dog" award allowing the AutoZone team to get back on the lead lap.
Under the caution, the AutoZone Ford was brought down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air pressure and wedge adjustment in hopes of tightening the car up when the race resumed on lap 126. With the No. 22 safely back on the lead lap, Wallace restarted in the 18th position.
"The car is still loose; I think it may be something with the right front shock. I'll hang in there and give us the best finish possible," explained Wallace on lap 136.
One last attempt was made to adjust the AutoZone Ford on lap 150, when Todd Gordon called Wallace to pit road for four tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments.
With just 50 laps remaining in the 200-mile race, Wallace tightened his belts and hoped that the adjustments would tighten the AutoZone Ford up for the remaining laps. It took just two laps into the green flag run to realize that the adjustments had in fact tightened him up. Unfortunately, the adjustments made him a little too tight and Wallace would battle this condition for the remainder of the race.
The AutoZone team's continued hard work to resolve the handling woes resulted in a 16th place finish for Wallace and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion.
"The crew never gave up; they worked on this car right up till the very end. I'm happy with this finish," stated Wallace.
The AutoZone team heads to Nashville this weekend to compete in the Federated Auto Parts 300. Live coverage from Nashville Superspeedway begins Saturday, June 10th at 7:30 p.m. ET on FX and on MRN Radio. In addition to the on-track activities this weekend, Kenny Wallace will make an appearance at the CMA Fan Festival at the Nashville Convention Center this Friday, June 9th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.