Wallace, AutoZone Team Not Satisfied With Results in the Lone Star State (FORT WORTH, TX) -- Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Racing team have been working hard to improve their on-track results, both during the off-season and throughout the first...
Wallace, AutoZone Team Not Satisfied With Results in the Lone Star State
(FORT WORTH, TX) -- Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone Racing team have been working hard to improve their on-track results, both during the off-season and throughout the first few races of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season. In particular, the #22 AutoZone team has been looking to make improvements on their intermediate track program. This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Kenny Wallace was hoping that all of their hard work would show, but unfortunately the 27th place finish was not reflective of the overtime that the team has put in. "We have struggled a little bit on the 1.5 mile tracks recently, so during the off-season Randy Cox and the AutoZone team worked really hard to make improvements," Wallace explained. "Unfortunately, our 27th place finish does not show how much work everyone has put in. We've still got a long way to go because running in the middle of the pack does not reflect what this team is capable of."
From the time that the #22 AutoZone Ford rolled of the truck for practice on Thursday morning, the team made numerous changes and even tried different set-ups in an effort to gain more speed. Wallace ran his fastest lap in 29.925 seconds at a speed of 180.451 mph in the first practice session of the day. When it came time for the afternoon qualifying session, Wallace was forced to go out early in the order, but he still managed to pick up over eight-tenths, pacing the 1.5 mile track in 29.131 seconds at 185.370 mph. By the time that the sun set and qualifying was complete, Kenny Wallace ended up 25th in the starting order for Saturday's race.
"I have to admit that I was a little surprised that we were able to pick up that much time on our qualifying lap," Wallace said. "We didn't get a chance to make a mock qualifying run during practice because we were working on race set-ups. Qualifying is important, but having a good race set-up is much more important."
When the green flag flew at the beginning of Saturday's race, Wallace quickly began reporting to the AutoZone crew that he was battling tight conditions. Throughout the race, Wallace had trouble turning the car through the corners and being able to get back to the gas without pushing.
The AutoZone crew executed flawless pit stops throughout the race and they tried to improve the handling of the car as much as possible. The changes helped improve the handling slightly, but it was not enough to compete with the leaders on the high banks at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We just never could get the handling of the car comfortable this weekend," Wallace said. "Randy Cox and the AutoZone team tried all kinds of things in an effort make improvements, but nothing really seemed to work. We're scratching our heads a little bit, but I know that the guys will go back to the shop, figure it out, and work hard to make sure that we are better before we go to the next 1.5 mile track. It's frustrating to run like this all weekend, so I have to admit that I can't wait to get to Nashville next weekend where we ran second twice last season. Hopefully Nashville will be the shot in the arm that this #22 AutoZone team needs to build some momentum."
This coming weekend the spotlight will be on the NASCAR Busch Series in the "Music City" as the Nextel Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series both take Easter weekend off. Live coverage of the Pepsi 300 from Nashville Superspeedway begins Saturday, April 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET on F/X.