THE LOWDOWN THE STORY: 19 year-old desperado Steve Wallace and RWI's corps of cowboys continue their swing through the Wild West this week, in search of an oasis in the Arizona desert. After running in the top-10 for much of last week's Busch ...
THE STORY: 19 year-old desperado Steve Wallace and RWI's corps of cowboys continue their swing through the Wild West this week, in search of an oasis in the Arizona desert. After running in the top-10 for much of last week's Busch Series event at Texas, Wallace rolls into Phoenix looking to improve on his 16th place lead-lap finish in last year's fall event at Phoenix and earn his first career top-10 finish in the Busch Series.
STEVE'S STEED: Steve Wallace continues his westward ride on the back of chassis RWI-012. This car, originally a Robinson-built chassis, has been in the RWI stables for some time, but until this year, sat as a bare chassis. Now updated and completed, the "12 car" looks to head into its first gunfight this Friday at sundown.
STEVE WALLACE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY: Steve's only career start at Phoenix came in last fall's event at the oddly-shaped desert mile. In that event, Steve started 36th and ran a veteran-like race, picking up 20 spots to finish 16th in RWI's Checker Auto Parts Dodge. Ironically, the 19 year-old young gun battled teammate Jamie McMurray down to the wire for 15th place, just barely missing the spot. The race was only one of two in history in which RWI has campaigned two entries.
NEWS AND NOTES
Although Steve Wallace's 2007 finishes have not been as high as he would have liked, one can definitely say that the 19 year-old's mission of learning is being accomplished. At the end of his 17-race 2006 campaign, Steve had been in the top-15 for 21.4% of the laps he completed, with an average highest running position of 9.5. Over the last six NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007, Wallace has been in the top-15 for 40.6% of his laps completed, with an average high position of 6.3. Both are significant improvements over the 2006 season.
Now that the 2007 Chase for the Carpet has ended, Steve Wallace has begun to collect on his father's promise of new carpet for his house. Noted the younger Wallace, "Man, I never knew how many different types of carpet there were out there. It was a tough choice, but my brother went with me to a couple of stores around town and we ended up picking out some nice plush stuff from a company called Shaw Industries, I believe it was. Dad's on his vacation from ESPN right now, so I'm sure he'll be really happy to find the carpet bill sitting on his desk when he gets back! Now, if I can just keep Flash (his cocker spaniel) from tearing it up, we'll be alright."
Steve Wallace's average starting position of 17.3 thus far in 2007 ranks second among full-time non-NEXTEL Cup drivers and the fourth-best among all full-time Busch Series drivers. He remains the only full-time non-NEXTEL Cup driver to win a pole in 2007.
LOOP DATA NOTES FROM PREVIOUS PHOENIX EVENT
In the fall 2006 event at Phoenix, RWI's #64 Dodge, driven by Jamie McMurray, was among the top-15 in the following categories: Average Running Position, Driver Rating, Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, Fastest Drivers on Frontstretch, Fastest Drivers in Turn Two, Fastest Drivers in Turn Three, Green Flag Passes, Green Flag Speed, Laps Driver Improved Position, Laps in Top 15, Quality Passes and Speed in Traffic.
In the same race, RWI's #61 Dodge, which Steve Wallace wheeled, ranked among the top-15 in the categories that follow: Closers (most positions gained in the final 10% of the event), Fastest Drivers on Frontstretch, Fastest Drivers in Turn One, Fastest Drivers on Restarts, Green Flag Passes and Laps Driver Improved Position.
STEVE WALLACE, DRIVER, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER: "We've had a couple of rough outings over the last few weeks, but the good thing is that our cars are fast. I'm out there every week doing the best job that I can and trying to learn all I can. I can't help but think that if we keep giving it our best, that the finishes we're looking for are going to show up. We've really been working on our setups a lot lately and feel like we're really gaining there. We had a solid run at Phoenix last year and we're hoping to build on that this time around. Phoenix is a big market for HomeLife Communities, so we really want to do well for them out there. We're really grateful to have them on board and are looking forward to giving them a good run this weekend."
BRYANT FRAZIER, CREW CHIEF, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER: "Traditionally, our cars have run pretty well at Phoenix. We had two pretty solid race cars there last year and in fact, they ran nose-to-tail at the end of the race. With that said though, we've still been working hard on our flat-track and short-track programs lately and I hope that it'll begin to show this weekend in Phoenix. Although our finishes haven't been quite what we've wanted so far this year, I'm really happy with the way Steve has progressed over the season. He's a really fast young driver with a lot of talent and I think everyone has seen that so far. Now, we just have to concentrate on finishing races. I'll tell you what though, I'd much rather have to put the reins on a driver than to try and speed him up. Fortunately, speeding up is not a problem we have with Steve."