BUSCH: Mexico City: Steve Wallace preview

Steve Wallace I RWI Racing - ...

Steve Wallace I RWI Racing - #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge

News and Notes:

* In the Loop: According to NASCAR's new loop data, in the spring 2006 event at Mexico City, RWI Racing's Dodge, piloted by Jamie McMurray, was ranked among the top ten teams in the following categories: fastest drivers on the frontstretch, fastest drivers early in a run, speed in traffic, laps driver improved position and "closers" (number of positions improved during the final 10% of the race). McMurray made a total of 58 passes in the race, most frequently occurring on the frontstretch (24 passes, 41.4%) and in the turn one to turn three complex (17 passes, 29.3%).

* Ruling the Road: For a relatively young team, RWI Racing's performance on road courses has been quite remarkable. The team has scored a top-five or top-ten finish in all but one of the four road course events it has entered. Additionally, the team has completed an impressive 99.7% of the total laps in those four events.

* Road Course Rookie: This weekend's NASCAR Busch Series race will mark Steve Wallace's first career NASCAR road course start. While that may be true, it doesn't mean that he has no experience turning right. Throughout the off-season, the team put Wallace through extensive road course testing, beginning with a week at the renowned Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. The team then gained assistance from world-class road racing ace, Boris Said, who instructed Wallace throughout a series of three road course tests at VIR, Road Atlanta and VIR, respectively. The tests consisted of laps turned in a two-seat version of the #66 Dodge, followed by lead and follow sessions and single car runs.

* Deja Vu: Although Steve Wallace has never laid eyes upon the sprawling Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, upon his arrival there, he may very well feel as if he has. Like many young drivers today, Steve has made use of sophisticated simulation software to run "virtual" laps around the Mexico and Canada circuits. Through the help of the team's Lead Engineer, Jacob Canter, an office at the team's headquarters has been fitted with gear to provide Wallace a realistic simulation environment.

* Like Father, Like Son: Steve's father, RWI Racing team owner Rusty Wallace, was long known as one of NASCAR's "Kings of the Road." His six career NASCAR Premier Series championship road course wins tie him with Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Ricky Rudd for second in all-time road course victories. His Premier Series road course record also sports 19 top-five and 25 top-ten finishes. The elder Wallace won the final race at the legendary Riverside International Raceway and became the first winner in the modern era of international Premier Series competition when he won the NASCAR Thunder 100 at Japan's Suzuka Circuit in 1996. That race, classified as an exhibition, marked Wallace's seventh career Premier Series road course victory.


* Driver, Steve Wallace: "I'm really excited about my first road course race. We've really prepared a lot for this race and I've gotten very comfortable with the techniques. I have to thank Boris Said for all of his help in the off-season. He's one of the best road racers out there and he really helped me at our tests; I feel like I learned a ton. I've gone from absolutely hating road racing to absolutely loving it. I've had a blast in all of our tests so far. Our road course program has traditionally been very strong; Jamie (McMurray) finished in the top-ten in both road races last year. The guys have built me an incredible new car, so we should have a great chance at finishing up front this weekend. Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin both won this race with hardly any road course experience, so there's no reason that our HomeLife Communities team can't be next."

* Crew Chief, Bryant Frazier: "We've all been very impressed, almost shocked, to see how well Steve has taken to road racing. For someone with no real experience on road courses, he's been incredibly fast. By the end of our test at VIR, he was almost as fast as Boris. I really believe that if we can all keep our cool and stay patient on race day, our HomeLife Communities Dodge is going to have a great finish. We're very comfortable with our overall road course program. Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray have both driven our cars to very strong finishes on the road courses in the past, so we have a good baseline from which to start. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if we turned a lot of heads with a top-five or top-ten finish this weekend."

-credit: rwi

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Drivers Rusty Wallace , Boris Said , Jamie McMurray , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison , Denny Hamlin , Steve Wallace