Fontana II: Rusty Wallace Racing race report

DAVID STREMME AND TEAM 64 SPEED TO ANOTHER TOP-TEN FINISH IN CALIFORNIA --Teammate Wallace Battles Handling Conditions, Perseveres for Symbolic Top-20 Finish-- FONTANA, CA (August 30, 2008)--Continuing the momentum gained through their ...


--Teammate Wallace Battles Handling Conditions, Perseveres for Symbolic Top-20 Finish--

FONTANA, CA (August 30, 2008)--Continuing the momentum gained through their top-five finish last weekend in Bristol, David Stremme and his No. 64 Team Kenwood Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet sped to yet another Nationwide Series top-ten finish this evening, in the Camping World 300 at Auto Club Speedway. The finish marked Stremme's 13th top-ten effort in only 24 starts in 2008.

For Stremme and the No. 64 team, their effort was a hard-fought affair. After an unlucky qualifying draw of second, the No. 64 team started tonight's race from the 17th position. Stremme cracked the top-15 for the first time by lap 20 and ran among the top-15 for nearly the remainder of the evening. In the final seven-lap dash to the finish, Stremme and Team 64 were able to hold off fellow Chevrolet driver, Kevin Harvick, for the tenth position, the team's second-straight top-ten finish.

With their effort, the No. 64 team maintained their ninth-place ranking in the 2008 owners' standings and remained within 90 points of the Roush-Fenway-owned No. 6 for eighth-place. Meanwhile, despite attempting only 24 of the 27 events thus far in 2008, David Stremme kept his foothold on the 12th position in the drivers' standings. However, following the California event, Stremme has now closed within 100 points of tenth-place and within 150 points of the eighth position.

Said Stremme, "We didn't have a perfect car tonight, but we kept working on it all night long and were able to get a top-ten out of it. I can't complain about that. Our guys worked hard all weekend long and we're able to take this car home without a scratch and keep working on it. We really needed a longer run at the end and I think we could have gotten up to 7th or 8th, but we'll take it and head to Richmond."

Meanwhile, Stremme's teammate, Steve Wallace and his No. 66 Team Oakley Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet became to the talk of both garage areas this weekend, after debuting a new Oakley-branded paint scheme that garnered plenty of attention in Southern California. In line with Oakley's support of the Wallace effort, Oakley athlete and world-renowned snowboarder, Gretchen Bleiler, joined crew chief Harold Holly atop the No. 66 pit box for tonight's event.

Much his teammate Stremme, Wallace and his No. 66 team put in a workmanlike effort during tonight's 300-mile event. After posting the tenth-fastest time in Friday afternoon's final practice, Wallace wheeled his No. 66 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to the 21st starting position on Saturday afternoon. The young speedster did not remain there long, however and upon the start of the race, made a charge through the field to the 16th position within the race's first 20 laps.

After the initial start of the race, the No. 66 team would fight a variety of handling conditions throughout the evening, beginning with a tight condition during the race's initial stages. As the event went on, however, Wallace's No. 66 Chevrolet would reverse course and the No. 66 team found themselves attempting to keep up with an ever-loosening racetrack.

Following a 2007 season in which an ill-handling race car could have very well led to an accident, tonight's event served as a prime example of the improvement which Wallace has shown in the 2008 season. Despite the ill-handling condition he faced, Wallace was able to manhandle his No. 66 Chevrolet around the 2-mile circuit to score a top-20 finish in tonight's event. In contrast to 2007, during which Wallace scored but six top-twenty finishes through the California event, his effort tonight marked the No. 66 team's 17th top-20 finish of the 2008 Nationwide Series season, to go along with their two top-five and six top-ten efforts thus far in 2008.

Noted Wallace, "We were just never really able to stay up with how fast the track was changing tonight. We went from dead-tight at the beginning of the race to dead-loose at the end. Our guys worked hard this weekend, but sometimes there's just a little something you're missing with the setup and that's what happened tonight. Our car was really good in practice yesterday, but after the first couple of runs, we could never really get a handle on it during the race.

"With that said, I want to say thanks to everyone at Oakley for their support; the paint scheme we had on this car tonight was really cool and it was fun to have a world-class Oakley athlete like Gretchen Bleiler as a part of our team tonight.

"I'm really stoked about heading to Richmond next weekend. We had a car there in the spring that could have won the race and even after getting into it with Kyle (Busch), we were still able to get my first career top-five finish. Hopefully, we'll be able to better that run this time around and put our 5-Hour Energy machine in Victory Lane next weekend."

-credit: rwr

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Drivers Rusty Wallace , David Stremme , Steve Wallace