Wallace and the AutoZone Team Struggle at The Glen, Finish 31st (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) August 12, 2006 -- A shortened practice session, a tight handling racecar and running out of fuel with 33 laps to go relegated the No. 22 AutoZone Team to a...
Wallace and the AutoZone Team Struggle at The Glen, Finish 31st
(Watkins Glen, N.Y.) August 12, 2006 -- A shortened practice session, a tight handling racecar and running out of fuel with 33 laps to go relegated the No. 22 AutoZone Team to a 31st finishing position during Saturday's Zippo 200 at The Glen.
As Friday's practice sessions got under way, Wallace hit the track to run fifteen laps and turned a time of 75.117 seconds, 26th quick. When final practice approached, NASCAR reported that the teams would only have 20 minutes to take to the track due to a scheduled Sports Car race that evening. The AutoZone team was never able to run a qualifying lap during the session and only ran five laps for a time of 75.714 seconds, 38th on the charts.
"That final practice session hurt us. Between the limited amount of cars allowed on the track (26) at one time and losing 40 minutes to make adjustments, we were never able to get the car dialed in correctly," explained Crew Chief Todd Gordon.
Despite the lack of practice time, the team would remain optimistic and forge forward. Wallace qualified the No. 22 AutoZone Ford in the 30th position for the 83-lap event at the historic road course.
"We're going to end up with a top-five finish. I know we can do it, I can feel it," explained Wallace as he climbed into the driver's seat before the start of the race.
That optimism would soon fade as the Zippo 200 got under way. After a brief pit stop on lap 10 for fuel only, Wallace fell a lap down placing him in the 37th position. From that moment on, the AutoZone team worked feverishly to regain track position.
A tight handling condition would then plague the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion on lap 30. "I'm tight, the car is pushing real bad," radioed Wallace.
Just six laps later, the AutoZone crew heard Wallace exclaim, "I'm out of gas, I'm coming in."
As the AutoZone Ford Fusion came down pit road, the crew made quick work of four fresh tires and plenty of Sunoco fuel to finish off the remaining laps. Wallace rejoined the 43-car field in the 35th position.
"Our day couldn't have gone any worse. I think that was the worst day on a road course for me and this team. There are no words. I'm looking forward to leaving this place and heading to Michigan next week," a disheartened Wallace remarked.
Wallace was able to gain a few positions as the laps winded down and the No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion finished out the day in the 31st position. Wallace remains in the tenth position in the driver standing's. While John Andretti, Wallace's teammate, was the highest finishing Busch regular at The Glen and took home a top-five finish for the ppc Racing stable.
-credit: ppc racing