Race Recap: When the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team rolled into California Speedway, it had something on its side that it has lacked all season--confidence. The team's best finish of the season last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway gave the team ...
Race Recap: When the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team rolled into California Speedway, it had something on its side that it has lacked all season--confidence. The team's best finish of the season last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway gave the team momentum entering Saturday's Stater Bros. 300.
Kenny Wallace entered the first practice session a bit skeptical of the car crew chief Chris Rice selected to bring to California. The car was brand-new and had never been tested. Wallace's concerns were quickly gone when he saw the lap times the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger car posted. The No. 23 team historically has not preformed well on the bigger racetracks. Its last top-10 finish on a bigger track was at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003. Wallace and the entire crew felt this was the weekend to change that stat.
Wallace was the 40th driver to make a qualifying attempt. He knew that almost all the cars before him qualified slower than their practice speeds. Wallace ran only one lap, but it was good enough to put him in the fifth spot for Saturday's race.
"I really felt that the Stacker 2 Chevy was good enough to be in the top 10, but this is great," Wallace said. "It is always nice to start in the top five at a big race track like this."
Wallace and the team used the final practice session to set up the car for one of the longest races of the year. After posting the sixth-fastest time, the team felt it would be in victory lane Saturday afternoon.
When the green flag flew on Saturday, Wallace knew he had a good car. During the lap three caution, Wallace told his crew that the car was pushing up the racetrack in turns one and two. Rice told him the crew would correct the problem during the first pit stop.
The green flew once again on lap eight, but the caution flag returned one lap later. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger car restarted in the seventh position on lap 14. On lap 18, Wallace told the crew that the car handled loose in and tight off the corners. The weather was considerably hotter on Saturday than it was on Friday, causing the car to handle differently. By lap 20 Wallace had the No. 23 car in the sixth position.
The race went green for a long time, and on lap 49 the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team gave the car four tires, fuel and air pressure and track bar adjustments. On lap 55, Wallace was in the 13th position and moving quickly through the field. During the third caution of the day on lap 63, Wallace told the crew that the car handled a bit loose, but the changes that they made really helped the car. On lap 68, Wallace brought the car to the attention of the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger crew for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. A fast stop by the crew put Wallace in seventh for the restart on lap 72.
Wallace continued heading for the front of the field. On lap 82, he reported the car as handling really loose. When the caution flew on lap 85, the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team decided to bring the car down pit road to fix the loose condition. The car again received four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment three laps later. Wallace restarted in 11th.
Wallace battled to stay in the top 10 during the next 30 laps. The team knew it could not make it to the end of the race on fuel and decided to pit the car on lap 135. Wallace pitted for two tires and fuel. That pit stop enabled Wallace to finish ninth.
NEXT EVENT: The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team will be in Wallace's hometown of St. Louis this weekend, racing under the lights at Gateway International Raceway. The race can be seen live on FX.