STEVE WALLACE MOTORS TO FIRST TOP-TEN AT DAYTONA --Teammate Gaughan Sees Top-Ten Run Stolen by "The Big One"-- DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 13, 2010)--Saturday was a day of firsts for Rusty Wallace Racing's Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy ...
STEVE WALLACE MOTORS TO FIRST TOP-TEN AT DAYTONA
--Teammate Gaughan Sees Top-Ten Run Stolen by "The Big One"--
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 13, 2010)--Saturday was a day of firsts for Rusty Wallace Racing's Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry) in the DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
In his first race at the helm of a Toyota Camry and his first race with new crew chief Scott McDougall, Wallace survived a bevy of close calls in battling his way to his first career top-ten finish at Daytona.
In a race well-known as a battle of attrition, no one fought that battle harder than Wallace. The young wheelman's No. 66 Toyota sustained minor damage in--and was almost swept into--three separate multi-car accidents during the day. Despite these setbacks, Wallace and his No. 66 team survived the carnage to come home with a tenth-place finish.
En route to that tenth-place effort, Wallace led three laps, made 135 passes--the fifth-highest total on the day--and owned four of the fastest race laps, the fifth-most of all drivers.
Noted Wallace, "Our 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry was pretty good today, but we were just a little too loose most of the race to really make a run at them. We finally got our car tightened up a bit in the last quarter of the race, but it just wasn't quite enough. Plus, we got a little bit of damage in some of the wrecks, so that definitely didn't help our car to pull up as hard as we needed in the draft.
"I felt like if there was a wreck today, we were always right behind it; there were so many close calls for us today. Those are the kinds of wrecks that we usually get caught up in, so hopefully this is a sign that our switch to Toyota is also going to change our luck for the better.
"I'm definitely not content with finishing tenth--we're here to win races--but considering that we've gotten crashed every other time we've been here in February, we'll definitely take it. To start the year on a good footing is crucial to making a charge for the championship and we've done just that today."
Meanwhile, despite having one of the race's fastest cars, Wallace's teammate, Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry) would ultimately see fate strip away his chances for victory in a large multi-car incident on lap 93.
Gaughan was running among the top-ten, when contact among the leaders sent the car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spinning in front of Gaughan and the remainder of the field. The resulting contact put Gaughan's No. 62 hard into the outside retaining wall and out of the race.
Said Gaughan, "We had a really strong South Point Toyota Camry today. We were running in the top-ten--right where we wanted to be at that point of the race. All of a sudden, I saw the bottom of the 88 car (Earnhardt, Jr.) and I knew we were in trouble. There's nothing I could do; it was just another accident that was a product of restrictor plate racing.
"To look at the bright side though, I was really pleased with the Toyota Camry in our first race with it. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I can't wait to try and put our Camrys in victory lane on the west coast--my home turf--the next two weeks."
The next event for Rusty Wallace Racing's Toyota Camrys is next Saturday's Stater Brothers 300 at Auto Club Speedway, located just outside Los Angeles, CA.
-source: rusty wallace racing