BUSCH: Texas: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing April 4, 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Kenny Wallace, driver of the No. 22 Ford Fusion, has posted consecutive top-10 finishes in the final Busch Series point standings. Currently 18th in the driver standings heading...

This Week in Ford Racing
April 4, 2006

NASCAR Busch Series

Kenny Wallace, driver of the No. 22 Ford Fusion, has posted consecutive top-10 finishes in the final Busch Series point standings. Currently 18th in the driver standings heading into this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway, Wallace knows the importance of mastering the numerous 1.5-mile speedways on the Busch Series circuit. Wallace, who is teamed with veteran driver John Andretti this season, spoke about the off-season changes at ppc Racing and the start of his 2006 season.

KENNY WALLACE -- No. 22 -- AutoZone Ford Fusion

NUMEROUS CHANGES WERE MADE AT PPC RACING IN THE OFF-SEASON, INCLUDING THE ADDITION OF JOHN ANDRETTI AS A TEAMMATE AND TWO NEW CREW CHIEFS. "We have changed a lot of things around at ppc just trying to get better. Last year we were a one-car team. Of course, we had Michel Jourdain and Brent Sherman kinda in and out of a seat, and it really didn't pay any dividends to making our team faster by swapping drivers. I went to Greg Pollex and asked him if he could start another team and he was already in the works of doing it. With John as a teammate and Rick Gay, his crew chief, I really believe in their setups and what they're running. Right now we're just in a building process -- what teams has what kind of cars and what team is outrunning what team. Right now it's kind of confusing because we're so even. It's not like one team has an advantage over the other. You'd like to see one team run a little bit better at the start of the season than the other because that way you could find some direction. At Atlanta, I finished 19th and he finished 20th, and at Bristol, I finished eighth and he finished ninth. I think 70 points separates us, so we're waiting for one of our teams to break out and go, 'Oh, that's something really good, let's do that.'"

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOUR TEAM IS COMBATING AT THE START OF THE SEASON? "We're getting beat on this coil-bound setup. It's such an odd word to say to the general public, but the 21 car of Kevin Harvick is really the fastest car week-in and week-out. It seems it doesn't matter who drives the car. Jeff Burton is fast in it, and, of course, the 21 car won at Atlanta, so they've really got us on taking the right-front spring and running it totally collapsed, metal against metal. We have tried it, and we keep trying it, and we've probably got four days of testing with it and we still don't know how to do it. Andretti's team, Rick Gay, they're not even attempting to try it, so it's kind of up to us to try to match some of these Cup guys."

YOU HAVE BEEN A MAINSTAY IN THE BUSCH SERIES FOR THE PAST FEW SEASON. DOES THIS SERIES BEST FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE? "I would say that a lot of people don't know me and don't know how to define me because they simply don't ask enough questions about my personal life. But, I'm a race-car driver and I love racing. My biggest hobby is racing my dirt car throughout the United States. I own an UMP Modified and I race it a lot on Monday through Thursday, but the NASCAR Busch Series is something that I'm dedicated to and I love the series because it has bailed me out whenever things have gone bad in the Cup Series. It's a great way to make a living. It pays good money and I just really enjoy it because I'm never in jeopardy of missing races and I seem to be competitive. I'd say that any series fits my lifestyle, but I'm especially appreciative to the Busch Series for being there when I fell on my butt in the Cup Series."

WITH AT LEAST 16 CUP COMPETITORS ATTEMPTING TO QUALIFY FOR THIS WEEKEND'S BUSCH SERIES RACE, DO YOU HAVE TO REASSESS YOUR GOALS HEADING INTO THE RACE? "Last year I finished ninth in this race, and in the second race I ran 20th. I'd say we've got our work cut out for us. I always tell everybody that it's not the drivers that we're racing, it's the teams. When you run up against Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing and Evernham and Penske, those teams' success speaks for themselves. Can ppc Racing outrun those guys? I'd say on a given day, but not consistently. We've got our work cut out for us. We're going to go down there and we can't show up generic. We can't show up like we did in the past, and we'll just have to wait and see where we stack up."

ARE THERE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TRACK AT TEXAS THAT SET IT APART FROM THE OTHER MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS ON THE CIRCUIT? "It's totally different. You fly down into turn one and there's a bump that's pretty outrageous in the middle of one and two, and then you can hit the wall coming up off of turn two. Three and four is just a completely different corner, so there race track has it's own characteristics. Everybody creates a lot of excitement because it's such a big state, the state of Texas. I look forward to going there. I enjoy the atmosphere, but it's a unique superspeedway. It's not like the rest of them."

WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF A SUCCESSFUL SEASON FOR YOU IN 2006? "Definitely to run as many top 10s as we can is what will define the year. I look back at '05 where we ran second three times, and at Pikes Peak it looked like we were going to win and we had a bad pit stop. We came in leading and went out fifth. We were close last year and then three-quarters of the way through the year we lost our identity, and we've been working ever since to try to find it. I think what had happened is other teams just got better than us."

-ford racing

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About this article
Drivers John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Brent Sherman , Robert Yates , Michel Jourdain
Teams Yates Racing