The O'Reilly 300 started Saturday afternoon at around 3:00 PM Eastern time, under cloudy skies and very cold temperatures. Steve Wallace rolled off the starting grid from the 17th position, following a qualifying lap of 28.985 seconds (186.303...
The O'Reilly 300 started Saturday afternoon at around 3:00 PM Eastern time, under cloudy skies and very cold temperatures.
Steve Wallace rolled off the starting grid from the 17th position, following a qualifying lap of 28.985 seconds (186.303 MPH). Upon the start of the race, Steve commented that his race car was handling very well and it showed, as the teenage phenom moved from the 17th position into the top-15 by lap 3 and into the top-12 by lap 13.
By the twenty lap mark, Wallace noted that his Dodge was a little loose on corner entry, but decided that the car did not yet require chassis adjustments. As the run went on, the handling of the #66 Dodge actually improved.
Approximately thirty laps later, on lap 51, the race leaders began to hit pit road under green flag conditions for their stop of the day. RWI Racing Crew Chief Bryant Frazier decided to leave the No.66 Dodge on the racetrack for several more laps and the strategy paid off when the caution flag flew on lap 55.
The caution period allowed Wallace to bring the HomeLife Communities Dodge to pit road for service from the 11th spot. The Frazier-led crew quickly performed four-tire service on the No.66 and Wallace returned to the track in 8th position for the ensuing restart on lap 61.
Following the restart, Wallace wheeled the No.66 as high as 7th position before misfortune struck the RWI squad on lap 69. While attempting to maneuver around the lapped car of Brent Sherman, Wallace's Dodge inadvertently made contact with Sherman's car and both were collected in the ensuing melee.
Frazier and company enacted repairs to Wallace's wounded Dodge and the team returned to the track 50-plus laps down to the leaders. Through its determination to re-enter the race, the HomeLife Communities team managed to gain three positions on the race track and finished the event in the 32nd spot.
Steve Wallace, Driver, No.66 HomeLife Communities Dodge Charger: "Bryant and the guys gave me a great car today. It was definitely one of the best we've had this year. We got all the way up to seventh place, right up there with Kevin Harvick and all of the Cup guys. We were coming off of turn four and there was a slow car who was really in the way; I think it was Brent Sherman. He was laps down, but just kept racing Reed (Sorenson) and I as hard as he could for some reason. He has that right, but if I'm lapped, I usually try to show the leaders some respect. Regardless, I got a little aggressive in trying to get around him and ended up getting into him; I'll take blame for that. Reed was right behind me and was really shoving me hard, so I don't know if he took some of the air off of my car or what, but it just starting sliding up the racetrack and into the 36 car. I hate it for my guys and everyone who was involved: Reed, the 88 car and everyone else. We've had some really fast cars this year, but just don't have the finishes to show for it. We're all trying to learn and once it finally clicks, we're going to be hard to handle. I just want to thank Jon Been and everyone at HomeLife Communities, as well as all of our other great partners, for their support this year."