Race Recap: The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team entered the weekend with high hopes. The team knew Kenny Wallace's record at New Hampshire International Speedway was impressive, as he had a win and a pole to his credit. With all of the bad luck the...
Race Recap: The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team entered the weekend with high hopes. The team knew Kenny Wallace's record at New Hampshire International Speedway was impressive, as he had a win and a pole to his credit. With all of the bad luck the team had endured in the past several weeks, a good finish was in order to turn the luck around.
Wallace drove the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet onto the track for the Friday morning practice session. He called the crew immediately, stating there was something wrong with the car. When he brought the car into the garage, the Stacker 2 crew tried to locate the problem, while valuable practice time slipped past. The problem was in the brakes, and the team quickly repaired the problem. With so much practice time lost, the team could only hope for a good qualifying effort.
When Wallace went out to qualify the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger car, he said it handled very loose entering the corners, thus slowing his qualifying time. Wallace qualified a season-worst 35th.
"The car was really loose getting into turn one," Wallace said. "I could not keep the car on the bottom and could not get back to the gas the way I wanted. I'm really worried about the race because our car is not handling the way we want it to."
Rain forced the cancellation of the NASCAR Busch Series final practice session. The No. 23 team faced another setback, because it changed the car's entire setup after qualifying and now had no practice time before Saturday's race.
When the green flew over the one-mile speedway on Saturday, Wallace was on a mission to get to the front. On lap seven, he told crew chief Chris Rice that the car handled tight in the middle of the corners. Rice said the crew would make some big adjustments during the first pit stop. By lap 10, Wallace had already picked up six positions from his starting spot.
The first caution flag of the event waved on lap 29. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team took the opportunity to make some significant adjustments to the car. On lap 31, Wallace pitted for four tires and fuel. The team also made an air pressure adjustment and removed two spring rubbers from the right rear of the car in an effort to help remedy the tight handling condition. Wallace restarted 23rd on lap 34.
On lap 63, the caution flag waved for the second time. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team gave the car fuel and a track bar adjustment on lap 66. The race restarted on lap 72.
Despite all the adjustments, Wallace told Rice on lap 86 that the car was still tight. The third caution flag of the day waved three laps later. The team knew that if it was going to have a chance for the win, it must gamble with fuel mileage. The crew gave the car four tires, fuel and air pressure and wedge adjustments on lap 91. Wallace brought the car back to pit road two laps later to top off the gas tank. Rice knew he was taking a chance with running out of fuel by pitting so soon, but it was chance he was willing to take.
The race restarted on lap 94 with Wallace in 29th. Nearly 10 laps later, Wallace had moved into the second position and was battling with Joe Nemechek for the lead. The two battled side-by-side for a number of laps but Nemechek held the top spot. A caution on lap 120 saw Nemechek head to pit road. Wallace remained on the track and inherited the lead.
Wallace continued to lead at the lap 127 restart and held the point for a number of laps. He told the crew the car felt good. Nearly 20 laps later, cars with fresher tires began catching and passing Wallace.
During the final 50 laps, Wallace battled to stay in the top 10. The team was worried that he would not make it on fuel, since it would be more than 100 laps since the last pit stop. A couple of late race cautions guaranteed that Wallace would make it on fuel and would have a solid finish. Wallace and the Stacker 2 team had their second-best finish of the year, finishing in the seventh position.
NEXT EVENT: Kenny Wallace and the No. 23 Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team head to Pikes Peak International Raceway July 31. The Stacker 2 team won this event in 2003 and is looking to repeat with Wallace. The race can be seen live on TNT and can be heard on MRN radio. Check local listings for start times.