Bad Luck Ends Likely Top-15 Effort for Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace Racing in the Desert AVONDALE, AZ (November 12, 2007)--Saturday's Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway was a roller coaster of emotion for...
Bad Luck Ends Likely Top-15 Effort for Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace Racing in the Desert
AVONDALE, AZ (November 12, 2007)--Saturday's Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway was a roller coaster of emotion for Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace Racing. After an incident in qualifying forced him to start from the rear of the field, Steve was truly one of the event's hard chargers, picking up 23 positions to be in the 18th position around the race's two-thirds mark. Unfortunately, this hard-fought effort would come to an end on lap 137, when he was the innocent victim of an incident on the frontstretch involving the No. 11, 16 and 26 cars.
Saturday's event saw the green flag just after 2:30 PM local time in Phoenix; Steve Wallace and the No. 66 Team HomeLife Communities Rusty Wallace Racing Dodge Charger took the green flag from the 41st position after a spin in the morning's qualifying session. Noted Steve, "We weren't as fast as we needed to be in practice, so we changed a lot of the setup overnight. I think we may have had a tire going down or it could have just been really loose, but either way, it managed to come around on me. Luckily though, there wasn't any major damage and we were able to start the race with the primary car."
Immediately upon the start of the race, Wallace was impressed with his Dodge's handling--especially considering the overnight changes--and it showed. He gained six spots in the opening two laps and his progression forward did not stop there. By mid-race, the No. 66 had moved up 14 spots and was in 27th position. Thanks to some impressive restarts and a lightning-fast stop from the HomeLife Communities team, Steve gained another nine spots and was in the 18th spot, on the lead lap, by the time disaster struck on lap 137. On that lap, several cars among the top-five "stacked up" on a restart, resulting in the racetrack being blocked and leaving Wallace nowhere to go. After being hit from behind, the No. 66 was forced into the back of another car and into the retaining wall. The damage to the 66 car was terminal and forced the team behind the wall for the rest of the day. As a result, Wallace was scored in the 37th position at the end of the event.
Noted Steve Wallace, "We just don't have any luck this year. It's unbelievable. We had a great day going, but just had nowhere to go in that wreck. By the time I got to it, it was nothing but smoke; I couldn't really see much at all. We had a good car today; it was a total animal on restarts. I could get by just about anyone I wanted to on the restarts. The guys at Penske-Jasper Engines really need to be commended on the engine we had in this car today; it was awesome. If not for the bad luck, I really think that we would have ended up at least in the top-15, if not better. We'll go on to Homestead and go get them there. We've got a ton of great things going on at our team right now for next year, so I can't wait for next season to get started too!"