THE LOWDOWN THE STORY: 19 year-old Steve Wallace and RWI's band of buckaroos head out yonder to the Wild West this week, looking for a big finish in the state where everything is bigger. Fresh off his first career Busch Pole two races ago at ...
THE STORY: 19 year-old Steve Wallace and RWI's band of buckaroos head out yonder to the Wild West this week, looking for a big finish in the state where everything is bigger. Fresh off his first career Busch Pole two races ago at Bristol and his first top-15 finish of the year last week in Nashville, Wallace and the gang are heading to Texas with momen- tum on their side. Steve enters Texas ranked among the top-15 in the driver standings and sporting the ninth highest driver rating in the series. Texas would seem to be a track well-suited to Steve's driving style--fast and fearless--and the team is looking to capitalize on the opportunity to earn its first top-10 of the year.
STEVE'S STEED: Steve Wallace will ride into Saturday's showdown from the saddle of chassis RWI-022. This Dodge Charger was last raced in the Las Vegas round of the championship, where Wallace started 12th and showed great strength, although a bevy of track and tire issues relegated the Wizetrade-sponsored machine to a 17th place finish.
STEVE WALLACE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Steve's only career start at Texas came in last fall's event there. During that weekend, he had to start from a backup car after a blown tire forced his primary Dodge Charger into the outside wall during practice. In the race, he fought valiantly, moving from the 37th starting spot to 20th place at the race's midway point and as high as 8th before his Dodge suffered from a collapsed spring, which severely hampered its handling. Despite that, Steve continued to scratch and claw to the front; his 58 green flag passes were the 4th most of any driver in the event.
NEWS AND NOTES
KICKIN' BACK: RWI Racing Team Owner and ABC / ESPN Lead Auto Racing Analyst Rusty Wallace, is taking a well- earned vacation from the track this week. He will return to ABC / ESPN's NASCAR coverage beginning with the Nashville Busch Series race on June 9th. In between though, Rusty won't be straying far from the public eye. ABC has once again tapped Wallace to provide the live analysis for their coverage of the 2007 running of one of the world's greatest auto races, the Indianapolis 500. "It's going to be nice to have a little bit of time off and get to relax a bit. I told the folks at ABC / ESPN when we first started talking that I didn't want to call the entire season. If I wanted to go to every race, I'd still be wheeling those Miller Lite hot rods right now. So, I've got a few weeks off; I'm sure that Dale Jarrett will do a great job keeping the seat warm and filling in for me until I return," Wallace noted, "Once I get back at Nashville, we're wide-open on ABC / ESPN until the end of the year. We're picking up the NEXTEL Cup Series starting with the Brickyard 400 and taking the fans all the way through the Chase; I can't wait."
THE NEXT GENERATION: Two weeks ago at Bristol, Steve Wallace earned his first career Busch Pole. In doing so, he matched a feat accomplished by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., another son of a NASCAR legend, who also earned his first Busch Series pole at Bristol. This week, Wallace heads to Texas, looking to match the younger Earnhardt once again, as Dale Jr. earned his first career Busch Series victory at Texas in 1998.
MOVIN' ON UP: Steve Wallace is on the verge of breaking into the Busch Series Top-10 for the first time in his fledgling career. The 19 year-old, third-generation wheelman is a mere 46 points behind tenth-place Regan Smith.
THE WAIT IS OVER: Prior to the Las Vegas event three weeks ago, Rusty Wallace offered to buy his son and new homeowner, Steve, some much-needed carpet for his new home. The only catch: Steve had to score a top-15 finish in the Busch Series first. The offer was even mentioned on ABC's broadcast from Las Vegas. Three races later, the 2007 Chase for the Carpet has ended, as Steve scored his first top-15 of the season in Nashville.
RWI RACING TEXAS LOOP DATA NOTES
By leading 22 laps late and nearly pulling off a victory in the 2005 edition of this event, former RWI Racing driver Jamie McMurray ranks 12th all-time in Busch Series laps led at Texas. Steve Wallace made 58 green-flag passes in his first Texas start last fall. That number was the fourth-highest total of the 43 drivers in the race. Steve improved his position during 25 laps of that event, which ranked him 12th overall in the category.
STEVE WALLACE, DRIVER, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER: "Texas is a track that's really fast and where you're really on the edge for a lot of the day. Because of the speed, aerodynamics really mean a lot. We've been working really hard lately on our coil-bound setup and making sure that the attitude of our cars is where it needs to be. There are some teams out there that really have it figured out and you'll see that those are the cars that are running up front right now. I think that our efforts are going to pay off and I'm looking forward to giving HomeLife Communities a great finish on Saturday."
BRYANT FRAZIER, CREW CHIEF, NO.66 HOMELIFE COMMUNITIES DODGE CHARGER: "Heading into Texas, we feel like it's a track that really suits Steve's driving style. You can drive the car into the corners really deep and get back after it. I think everyone out there knows that there's not a driver in the garage who will drive deeper into the corner than Steve. We've got some good momentum coming off of the last two weeks, so I hope that we can ride that and have a strong run this weekend. Our guys have really been working on our intermediate setups, which traditionally have been very good. Although our numbers don't really show it, we've had some good runs in Texas with Jamie (McMurray) in the past; we just haven't been able to capitalize on them. We're ready hopefully to seal the deal this weekend and get up into the top-10 in points."