Race Recap: Kenny Wallace and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team had their share of problems during the Federated Auto Parts 300 Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway. The misfortune cost the team a chance to compete for the win. The car was...
Kenny Wallace and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team had their share of problems during the Federated Auto Parts 300 Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway. The misfortune cost the team a chance to compete for the win.
The car was fast in the first practice session, and Wallace reported that he liked the balance of the car. The only flaw was a tight handling condition in the center of the corners. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet was among the top 10 fastest cars.
"The car feels really good, and I am really excited about racing under the lights Saturday night in Nashville," Wallace said.
Wallace's qualifying lap around the 1.33-mile concrete oval was good enough for the 12th position.
"I think that I left a little out on the table," Wallace said after his qualifying performance. "The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevy was a little tight entering [turn] three, but we will take 12th and get ready for final practice"
The final practice session was frustrating for the No. 23 team. Crew chief Chris Rice struggled to find a balance in the car that Wallace liked. Rice and Wallace did not give up, and by the end of practice they found a setup that was fast. Wallace could also put the car anywhere on the track. The team was optimistic about its chance to win on Saturday.
Dark clouds hovered over Nashville Superspeedway at the beginning of the race, as the threat of rain was imminent. There was a bright orange-and-yellow streak on the track, which was Wallace zipping through the field. Wallace lost the power steering three laps into the 225-lap event. Rice said the team would correct the problem during the first pit stop, but the car remained as fast as that of the leader.
When the caution flag flew for the first time on lap 16, Wallace brought the No. 23 to pit road. Car chief Jason Everhart figured the power steering had malfunctioned, and the team devised a plan to correct the problem. Wallace restarted 36th on lap 23, but did not lose a lap to the leader.
Wallace continued to complain about the power steering, but Rice assured him the team had figured out the problem and would fix it during the next caution.
Wallace brought the car to pit road under caution on lap 60. The team worked feverishly to replace the defective power steering line. It took a couple of pit stops, but the team corrected the problem. However, the team did not get a chance to change tires like the rest of the competitors. The worn tires were sure to affect Wallace's speed. Another caution period on lap 84 gave the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team ample opportunity to give the car four tires and fuel.
The race was red flagged on lap 95 because of threatening weather in the area. Though the team could not work on the car, Wallace could discuss the car's handling with the team.
After a 2.5-hour rain delay, the race resumed on lap 103. Wallace inherited the lead when the rest of the field pitted for tires and fuel. Wallace led the next 39 laps.
The caution flag flew on lap 142. Wallace relinquished the lead and came to pit road for four tires and fuel. A fast pit stop enabled Wallace to restart second. When the green flag flew, Wallace reported the right-side lug nuts were not tightened properly. He brought the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet to pit road on lap 152, and the crew changed right side tires. When Wallace returned to the track, he had fallen two laps behind the leader.
By lap 170, Wallace had climbed to the 25th position. By lap 200, Wallace had picked up six more positions and was the first car three laps down. On lap 205, he reported the car's handling as tight in the center of the turns.
The race ended under caution, and Wallace drove the car to an 18th-place finish. He was three laps behind race winner Jason Leffler.
"What a night," Wallace said. "We start the race with no power steering and get it fixed. We then use pit strategy to get the race lead. We were really moving, and I think that we really had a chance to be in Victory Lane, but a mistake on pit road cost us big. I am looking forward to going to Kentucky next week and showing the field that we have the best crew in the business."
The No. 23 Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team heads to Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night's Meijer 300. The race will be televised live on the FX Network.