Race Recap: Based on his past success, Kenny Wallace had high hopes for a win at Talladega, NASCAR's longest track. Wallace, a series veteran, has had more than his share of great finishes at Talladega Superspeedway. In 2001 he pushed Dale ...
Race Recap: Based on his past success, Kenny Wallace had high hopes for a win at Talladega, NASCAR's longest track. Wallace, a series veteran, has had more than his share of great finishes at Talladega Superspeedway. In 2001 he pushed Dale Earnhardt to his last victory at the famed track.
The team unloaded the same car that finished 12th at the Daytona International Speedway in February. In the fist practice, the team struggled to find a setup that had speed and a good feel. At the end of practice the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger crew improved its practice time dramatically and felt that it could get a top 15 start for the Aaron's 312.
Wallace drew the 24th qualifying spot on Thursday. He knew that he must have a perfect lap to get a good starting spot for the race. He completed his lap in 53.032 seconds, which put him in the 24th position on the starting grid. Wallace said he was disappointed with the qualifying spot, but he knew a good draft could help him work his way to the front.
Wallace's practice on Friday gave him and the team confidence for Saturday's race. The car was very good in the draft and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team worked to make the car handle well. Wallace told the team after practice that the car was very fast, and he felt that it would be a contender for the win on Saturday.
When the green flag dropped on Saturday Wallace was in the 24th position. By the second lap, Wallace had piloted the car all the way up to 10th. He was very happy with how the car was handling and the speed that the car was producing.
On lap two there was a caution on the race track due to the 16 car stalling on the backstretch. When the race was restarted on lap five, the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet was moving rapidly to the front. By lap 10 the car was in the second position and battling for the lead. On lap 11 Wallace made the pass for the lead and led for six laps, marking the first time Wallace has led a race this season.
[IMAGE]Wallace remained in the top 10 until lap 44, when the caution flag flew for the second time for debris on the track. Wallace told crew chief Chris Rice the car was running a little hot. On lap 47 Wallace brought the car to the attention of the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger crew. They changed four tires and loaded it up with racing fuel. They also took some tape off the grill to help with the overheating problem. The team did a great job and got Wallace out in the eighth position.
When the race went back to green, Wallace was on his way back to the front. On lap 65 Wallace told his crew the water temperature was at 260 degrees, and he was going to fall back in the pack to get some air into the grill. The team knew that the engine would not last if it remained that hot. Wallace continued to race hard around the race track but as soon as he would get into the top 10 the car would get very little air and the water temperature would rise. He would have to get to the back of the pack to cool off the engine.
On lap 85 the caution flew for the third time and the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team decided to cool down the engine. On lap 87 the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger crew went to work. They changed four tires and put fuel in the car. They also made an air pressure adjustment to help the handling of the car. They then opened the hood and put cool water into the engine. Slowly the water temperature started to come down. Wallace told his crew that it was down to 180 degrees and he was ready to get the No. 23 car to the front.
When the race went back to green on lap 92 Wallace had the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger car in the 27th position. By lap 99 he had already positioned himself in the top five and was battling in the lead pack.
The big wreck happened on lap 100 and brought out the fourth caution of the day. Wallace knew that he had a good car and just needed to stay in the lead pack to get a top five finishing position.
The last 17 laps were filled with cautions and Wallace lost one position and finished in the sixth spot. This finish was the team's best this season and has given them confidence going into California.
NEXT EVENT: The Busch Series heads west this week to California Speedway. The race will be on Saturday, May 1, live on Fox at 4 p.m. EST.