BUSCH: Richmond: Steve Wallace preview

THE LOWDOWN THE STORY: Following up on a strong showing last weekend that saw them lead the Busch Series event at Talladega, Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities' soldiers march on to historic Richmond this week, to tackle the wide and...


THE STORY: Following up on a strong showing last weekend that saw them lead the Busch Series event at Talladega, Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife Communities' soldiers march on to historic Richmond this week, to tackle the wide and fast Richmond International Raceway. Buoyed by their solid Talladega performance, a highly successful test at the Rusty Wallace-designed Iowa Speedway and a trend of improvement at the 3/4-mile short track, Steve and the guys head north this week looking to make a little history of their own.

THE MACHINE: Steve Wallace will march into battle this weekend from behind the wheel of RWI-005. The "5 car" has not yet seen action in the 2007 Busch Series season. However, Wallace raced this car three times during 2006, including both Dover events, where he scored a pair of top-ten starts, as well as in the fall Phoenix event, where he started 36th and rallied to a lead-lap 16th-place finish, just one spot behind veteran teammate Jamie McMurray.

THE MAN AT RICHMOND INT'L RACEWAY: Steve Wallace's only career start at Richmond came in last year's edition of this event. In that race, Wallace wheeled his No.64 Dodge to the 20th starting position, RWI's best qualifying attempt at Richmond thus far. During the event, he battled several rain delays, an extremely tight race car and a bevy of late-race caution periods to bring home a lead-lap 28th place finish. Wallace's finish was RWI's first while on the lead-lap at the Virginia short track.


PASSING THE TEST: After the open Busch Series test earlier this year at Richmond, Team HomeLife, with drivers Steve Wallace and Chase Austin headed to the Rusty Wallace-designed Iowa Speedway for a multi-day test in preparation for this week's event. Noted Crew Chief Bryant Frazier, "We weren't totally happy with our Richmond test, so we took a couple of days and went out to Rusty's speedway in Iowa. It's a first-class facility that has a lot of characteristics of Richmond. We really feel like we hit on some things there that will make us a lot better in the race on Friday."

AUSTIN MAKES SOLID DEBUT IN GREENVILLE: 17 year-old RWI Racing development driver, Chase Austin made his debut for RWI Racing this past weekend in the NASCAR Busch East Series event at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. Despite starting and finishing 19th, the team feels as if the numbers don't really tell the story of the day. Among those in attendance at Austin's debut was long-time Rusty Wallace lieutenant, Tom Polansky. Noted Polansky, "The numbers weren't quite what we wanted, but Chase's overall performance was definitely impressive. Being new to the series, we struggled a little bit with some of the qualifying adjustments, but Chase drove a very smart, smooth race and if it weren't for an accident near the end, he probably would have gotten a top-ten. I think we have a very solid prospect here and I'm excited about watching both he and Steve progress." The next event for the NASCAR Busch East Series is a combination event with the NASCAR West Series in Elko, MN on May 18. That race features live television coverage in high-definition by HDNet.

A HAPPY HOMECOMING: NASCAR's visits to Richmond always mark a homecoming of sorts for several members of the RWI team. Both Busch East Series Crew Chief, Steve Darne and Busch Series Fueling Specialist, Matt Sauer are natives of the Richmond area. Additionally, RWI's Brand Management chief, Greg Wallace, earned a B.A. in Economics from nearby Hampden-Sydney College before getting his MBA from Wake Forest University. He later returned to Richmond to work with top national advertising shop, The Martin Agency, home of Geico's Gecko and UPS's Race the Truck.

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: RWI Racing is pleased to announce the addition of Garrett Andrews to the team's technical staff, where he will serve as RWI's lead shock engineer. Andrews comes to RWI from the Indy Racing League's Vision Racing, the team co-owned by Tony George and actor Patrick Dempsey, of ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Noted Crew Chief Bryant Frazier, "We're really excited about having Garrett on board. Shock absorbers make up a very critical piece of a car's handling today and I think that this addition shows how committed we are to performing well on the race track."

A WIZE DECISION: Steve Wallace has spent much of this week and last filming commercials for RWI team partner Wizetrade. The shoot took place in several locations, including the RWI campus, the team's aircraft hanger and the historic Martinsville Speedway. Noted Wallace, "We like to help our sponsors all we can and it's fun to do TV stuff once in a while, but I have to say that I'm not ready to quit my day job of trying to win Busch Series races." Wizetrade is a stock trading software program and stock research tool geared towards helping individual investors trade like pros. For more on Wizetrade, please visit their racing program website, located at www.winwithwizetrade.com.


RWI's No.64 Dodge ranked among the top-15 teams in the following categories during the fall 2006 event at Richmond International Raceway: fastest late in a run (11th), fastest in turn three (13th), green flag passes (4th), laps driver improved position (5th), passes in turn two (11th), passes in turn three (3rd), passes in turn four (6th), passes on frontstretch (4th), passes on backstretch (5th), fastest drivers on backstretch (12th) and positions improved in final ten percent of race (8th).

The RWI squad started the race in 33rd position, was 11th at the race's midway point, 13th with 25 laps to go and 11th at the finish. The No.64 Dodge ran as high as fifth during the event.


STEVE WALLACE, DRIVER, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES RWI RACING DODGE CHARGER: "I know that Richmond hasn't really been the best track for our team over the last few years, but I'm still excited about going there this week and there are a few reason why. First, we've definitely improved there over the last couple of years. Jamie (McMurray) had our best finish ever at Richmond in the last race there and we've managed to get lead-lap finishes there in the last two races. Second, we had a great test at Iowa Speedway in order to get ready for this weekend. When my Dad (Rusty Wallace) designed Iowa, he designed it with a lot of the characteristics of Richmond, so we feel like a lot of what we learned in Iowa, at least the general idea, will carry over pretty well to Richmond. Finally, our cars have been fast all year. We haven't been finishing races and that's something we've got to work on, but it's not for lack of speed. Heck, had it not been for the crash with just a few laps to go at Talladega last week, we may very well have pulled off a top-five or even a win. Hopefully, we'll be able to tie all of that together and have a great run this weekend."

-credit: rwi

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Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jamie McMurray , Tony George , Patrick Dempsey , Steve Wallace , Chase Austin