Race Recap: The 2004 season has been full of different emotions for Kenny Wallace and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team. The team has had great race cars and has competed near the front of the field, but bad luck forces the team to finish in a...
Race Recap: The 2004 season has been full of different emotions for Kenny Wallace and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team. The team has had great race cars and has competed near the front of the field, but bad luck forces the team to finish in a position that does not reflect its hard work or valiant effort. The Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway was no different.
The team unloaded a car that had the potential to run up front all day. During the first practice session on Friday, the front valance of the No. 23 was too low. When Wallace tried to merge onto the racetrack, the valence folded under the car. Wallace brought the car back to the garage area and the team tried to repair the car. In doing so, the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team lost valuable practice time. The team did repair the car quickly, and Wallace was able to get some practice in before qualifying that afternoon.
The team made changes to the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevy during practice, and Wallace felt those changes would benefit him during qualifying. Wallace made the second qualifying run of the day and picked up .35 seconds from his practice times. A 29.300 second lap put Wallace 18th on the grid for Saturday's race.
Wallace and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team worked throughout the final practice session that evening to make the car get through the middle of the corners better. They tried a number of combinations to help the car, but the car did not respond the way the team had planned. By the end of practice, Wallace and crew chief Chris Rice decided what would be necessary to make the car competitive for the race.
The threat of rain was eminent on race day, making teams cautious in their preparations for the race. Wallace started the race in the 18th spot, but he was not there long. By lap five, the driver of the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevy had already moved up one position on the 1.5-mile concrete. He said the car handled a little tight, but he felt that condition would improve as the race progressed. By lap 50, Wallace was up to 15th and reporting that the car was responding to the track conditions.
The first caution flag waved on lap 58. Rice told Wallace to come to pit road when NASCAR opened it. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet received four tires and fuel on lap 61. The team also made air pressure and wedge adjustments to help correct the tight handling condition. A pit stop of less than 15 seconds put Wallace in 11th for the lap 68 restart.
Wallace continued to move up the leader board until the second caution flag flew on lap 82. Wallace pitted on lap 85 for fuel and an adjustment. He restarted in 14th on lap 88.
Wallace reported on lap 92 that the adjustments made during the pit stop really helped the racecar. By lap 135, Wallace had maneuvered the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger car back into the 11th position. He pitted two laps later for four tires and fuel. On lap 142, the caution flag flew. Since not all the teams had pitted, the No. 23 team was caught two laps behind the leader. The race resumed on lap 153 with Wallace in the 13th position.
The fourth caution flag of the day flew on lap 154. Wallace restarted in 14th on lap 159. By this point, the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger machine was posting times as fast as those of the leaders. By lap 200, Wallace was in 12th and closing on the top 10.
Wallace pitted on lap 203 for left-side tires and fuel and returned to the track in the 19th position. The caution flag flew again during green flag pit stops, and Wallace fell another lap down. Wallace eventually finished 18th, three laps behind race winner Michael Waltrip.
NEXT EVENT: The Busch Series has next weekend off, but will return to action April 24 at Talladega Superspeedway.