THE LOWDOWN THE STORY: Teenage phenom Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife move back eastward this weekend to do battle on the supposed former Indian burial ground now known as Talladega Superspeedway. The team is looking to build on its near...
THE STORY: Teenage phenom Steve Wallace and Team HomeLife move back eastward this weekend to do battle on the supposed former Indian burial ground now known as Talladega Superspeedway. The team is looking to build on its near victory in last year's ARCA event at Talladega, as well as its strong performance in the 2006 Busch Series restrictor plate events, to move Wallace back towards the Busch Series top-ten.
THE MACHINE: This weekend, Steve Wallace will battle 42 of the world's greatest stock car drivers, as well as an undetermined number of Talladega's famed ghosts, from behind the wheel of RWI-009. This car was the team's restrictor plate workhorse during the 2006 season and nearly scored a victory in the 2006 season-opener at Daytona. In last year's Talladega event, Jamie McMurray piloted the "nine car" and rocketed through the field from the 35th starting position. McMurray ran as high as third and showed exceptional strength before an engine failure 20 laps from the finish ended his day.
THE MAN AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY: Steve's only career start on the freshly-paved and supposedly haunted high-banks of Talladega came in last fall's ARCA RE/MAX Series Food World 250. In that event, the four-time ARCA winner and 2006 Pole Award Champion started 11th and stormed to the front of the field. Drafting throughout the race with fellow Dodge driver Juan Pablo Montoya, Wallace proved to have one of the race's dominant cars, leading as late as lap 77 of the race. On lap 78, Wallace was passed by ARCA regular Frank Kimmel and immediately after, officials stopped the race due to supposed darkness.
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NEWS AND NOTES
CHASE AUSTIN AND TEAM HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES RWI RACING TO MAKE NASCAR BUSCH EAST SERIES DEBUT THIS WEEKEND: 17 year-old Midwestern short track standout and newly-signed RWI developmental driver, Chase Austin, will make his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series debut this weekend at the ever-historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC. The Greased Lightning 150, set for an 8:00 PM ET start on Saturday, also marks the debut of RWI's newly-founded Busch East Series team, led by long-time RWI car chief, Steve Darne. Darne led Steve Wallace and RWI Racing to four ARCA RE/MAX Series victories and four poles in 2006. Noted Austin, "I tested one of Steve (Wallace)'s Busch Series cars a few weeks ago at Iowa in order to get a little better feel for the size and weight of these cars. Although I didn't get running as fast as Steve, I felt like I got a pretty good handle on driving one of these cars by the end of the day. Our guys have really worked hard to get some great cars put together, although we've had to fight shortages from some of the mandated parts vendors. Steve Darne and the guys have really put in a solid effort in the off-season. They've built a really great-looking hot rod for Greenville and I'm ready to go turn some heads this weekend."
LOOP DATA NOTES FROM PREVIOUS TALLADEGA EVENT Piloting RWI Racing's Dodge, Jamie McMurray ranked second in consecutive laps Chase Austin is looking forward to his Busch East Series debut thiswithout being passed. McMurray could not be overtaken from lap one to 51 of the event. weekend. "Steve Darne and the During the same period, he managed to make 20 consecutive passes on the field. guys have really put in a solid McMurray's lap of 193.411 on lap 50 was the third fastest race lap of the event overall. effort in the off-season," noted Jamie McMurray made 102 green-flag passes in the event; they most often occurred on Austin, " I'm ready to go turn some heads this weekend." the frontstretch (42 passes, 41.18%).
Steve Darne and Steve Wallace scored the second of their 2006 season-high four poles at Kentucky Speedway. Through four wins and four poles in nine 2006 ARCA Steve Wallace's restrictor plate savvy in 2006 surprised many. The 19 year-old nearly won his starts, Darne has shown a true restrictor plate debut at Talladega in 2006, finishing second to Frank Kimmel. knack for helping young drivers.
STEVE WALLACE, DRIVER, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER: "I'm excited about going to Talladega. We ran really well last year in the ARCA race and I feel like I got a pretty good feel for the draft from running with veterans like Frank Kimmel and my uncle, Mike (Wallace). Jamie (McMurray) had some great runs in our Busch cars on the restrictor plate tracks in the past few years, but never really got a finish that proved it. With that said, the thing about Talladega is that there's always potential for the big one to happen. With the Busch cars especially, you can never really break away from pack and you're pretty much at everyone else's mercy. We're going to do our best to stay out of the crashes. There's no really good place to run to try to do that, the wrecks can happen in the front, the back, anywhere. Hopefully we'll finally get some good luck and give HomeLife a good run this weekend. This is definitely a race where we could end up with a top-five or ten if things go right."
BRYANT FRAZIER, CREW CHIEF, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER (GADSDEN, AL NATIVE): Being from Alabama, Talladega has always been a special place for me and my family. In my eyes, there'd be nothing better than for us to good run in front of the hometown fans. Our restrictor plate cars have been some of the best out there in the races lately. We might not qualify well, but there's no doubt in my mind that once the flag drops, Steve can go right to the front. This season has had some ups and downs, but we're all in it together and we're all confident that Steve is going to be a real star in this sport in the next few years."