Wallace and the AutoZone Team One of the Highest Finishing Busch Regulars at Michigan, Finish 18th (Brooklyn, Mich.) August 19, 2006 -- Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team headed to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend hoping to regain some...
Wallace and the AutoZone Team One of the Highest Finishing Busch Regulars at Michigan, Finish 18th
(Brooklyn, Mich.) August 19, 2006 -- Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team headed to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend hoping to regain some of the momentum they experienced earlier this year. With a loose-handling race car and a field full of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars (21 drivers), Wallace crossed the start/finish line in the 18th position and moved even closer to the ninth position in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) driver point standings. Wallace sits just one point out of ninth heading into Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Friday night.
The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion was fast right off of the hauler. During Friday's practice sessions, Wallace posted a fast lap of 39.594 sec., 181.846 mph, eighth quickest in the first practice session. Running just 13 laps in the final practice session, Wallace posted the 14th quickest time at 40.350 sec., 178.439 mph.
"The AutoZone Ford was good right from the start. I felt pretty confident heading into the race on Saturday. This team has worked really hard to help turn our luck around and get us back into contention for a top spot in the points," explained Wallace.
Wallace and the AutoZone team would start Saturday afternoon's CARFAX 250 in the 23rd position.
As the green flag fell and the drivers gained some momentum around the track, Wallace reported in a loose handling-condition. "It's too loose in the corner, we've got to do something to tighten me up," radioed in Wallace.
The No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion remained out on the track until a caution flag flew on Lap 19. Running in the 22nd position, Wallace brought the car down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar and air pressure adjustment. An extended amount of time on pit road due to a rear tire problem placed Wallace in the 33rd position on the restart.
The adjustments helped ease some of the handling problems Wallace experienced until lap 59 when he again reported in, "I'm loose on entry and tight off. The car is wobbly right now."
When green flag pit stops began to cycle through on lap 75, Crew Chief, Todd Gordon made the call to bring the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion down pit road for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment. That call proved to be just what Wallace needed by Lap 85 and running in 30th, he radioed in, "The car is a little too free otherwise it is perfect. This is the best it had been all day."
It was at that point that Wallace moved up nine spots to the 21st position in just 15 laps.
One more pit stop was made under caution on Lap 102 for four tires, a splash of fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
Wallace restarted in the 22nd position and would gain four spots to cross the start/finish line in the 18th position. A total of 16 NEXTEL Cup drivers finished ahead of Wallace and the AutoZone team, making Wallace the second highest finishing Busch regular at Michigan.
"That was not one of our best finishes but I feel like we are getting back on track. Todd Gordon made the right adjustments and the car started to come around in the end. If only we had a few more laps, we may have been able to move up a few more positions and take over ninth in the point standings," explained Wallace.