Fontana: Rusty Wallace Racing preview

RUSTY WALLACE RACING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY * RWR AT AUTO CLUB: RWR cars have posted seven top-ten finishes at Auto Club Speedway, including three top-ten finishes in the track's two races in 2009. The team's best finish at Auto Club is a pair of...


* RWR AT AUTO CLUB: RWR cars have posted seven top-ten finishes at Auto Club Speedway, including three top-ten finishes in the track's two races in 2009. The team's best finish at Auto Club is a pair of fifth-place efforts by 2010 Daytona 500 Champion, Jamie McMurray in 2004 and 2006. The first laps led by the team in its "modern era" were five laps led by Billy "Catfish" Parker in the spring of 2004. One of the most emotional victories of Rusty Wallace's Cup Series driving career came at Auto Club in 2001. After taking his 54th career checkered flag over Jeff Gordon, Wallace displayed--on his victory lap--a flag bearing the No. 3, in honor of his fallen friend, Dale Earnhardt. The race date marked what would have been the 50th birthday for Earnhardt, who was lost in a tragic accident at Daytona just two months prior.

* STEVE WALLACE AT AUTO CLUB: Steve Wallace rolls into California fresh off a top-ten effort in the season opener at Daytona. His record sports two-straight top-15s in this weekend's event--including a top-ten in 2009. In the most recent race at Auto Club (fall 2010), Wallace ran among the top-five for much of the race, until pit strategy and a last-lap accident soured his day. His best start at Auto Club is an eighth-place effort in 2007.

* BRENDAN GAUGHAN AT AUTO CLUB: Los Angeles native Brendan Gaughan goes back to Cali this weekend in search of his third-consecutive top-ten finish at Auto Club Speedway. He was one of only six drivers to post top-ten finishes in both 2009 events at Auto Club, posting finishes of ninth and seventh, respectively. His Auto Club record also includes a fifth-place start and sixth-place finish in the 2004 Cup Series event. Gaughan's Truck Series record at the track includes two top-fives and one pole.


* MANUFACTURER CHANGE, FROM CHEVROLET, TO FACTORY TOYOTA SUPPORT--Support from Toyota Racing Development marks a dramatic increase in the level of manufacturer technical support and involvement provided to the team.

* TECHNICAL ALLIANCE WITH JOE GIBBS RACING--Alignment with 2009 Nationwide Series champions speeds up learning curve in manufacturer change, helps team develop the aerodynamics of its Toyota Camrys

* STRONG SPONSORSHIP PARTNERS--Partnership with America's number one energy shot gives team stable financial backing, increased promotion and alignment with one of the country's hottest brands. Meanwhile, the venerable South Point returns for its second season as sponsor of Gaughan's No. 62 entry.

* SCOTT MCDOUGALL AS NO. 66 CREW CHIEF--One of the Nationwide Series' top race engineers, McDougall has brought an engineering focus to the team which it has not previously possessed. Under McDougall's leadership, the team has quickly undergone a number of technical improvements, such as a much greater standardization of its car fleet.

* BRAD PARROTT AS NO. 62 CREW CHIEF--One of the most colorful--and winningest--crew chiefs in recent Nationwide Series history, Parrott brings a wealth of veteran knowledge and experience to RWR. Parrott's father, legendary crew chief, Buddy Parrott, will serve as spotter for the No. 62 team in select 2010 events, beginning with Daytona.

* ENGINE PARTNERSHIP WITH TRIAD RACING TECHNOLOGIES--In 2010, RWR will enjoy strong and reliable horsepower from one of the leading Toyota engine builders in the Nationwide Series.

* INCREASED ENGINEERING FOCUS--In addition to Scott McDougall's engineering guidance, Parrott's appointment shifts former interim No. 62 crew chief, Dale Ferguson, back into a full-time engineering role with the team. This, combined with increased engineering support from Toyota Racing Development and an increase in the team's in-house engineering staff, marks a change from the team's traditional philosophy.

* DRIVERS MORE SEASONED AND EXPERIENCED--With each and every season, driver Steve Wallace has come closer and closer to reaching the potential which he has flashed throughout his career. The 2009 season--Wallace's third full year in the Nationwide Series--marked his career bests in almost every key statistical category. With that performance, Wallace started establishing himself as a consistent top-ten contender and now, in 2010, he looks to consistently contend for Victory Lane. Meanwhile, teammate Brendan Gaughan finished ninth in the 2009 standings during only his first season in the series. With a full year of Nationwide experience now under his belt, Gaughan is set on putting his No. 62 Toyota in front of the field in 2010.

* CALIFORNIA LOVE--Prior to checking in at Auto Club Speedway later this week, RWR drivers Steve Wallace and Brendan Gaughan, along with team owner, Rusty Wallace, will visit with employees of Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, CA on Wednesday during Toyota's annual "Toyota Motorsports Day," before visiting the headquarters of longtime partner, Oakley, in Foothill Ranch on Thursday afternoon. Rusty Wallace's relationship with Oakley is the oldest currently in his portfolio and marks its 20th anniversary this year. Wallace became one of Oakley's original auto racing endorsers in 1990 and the relationship has grown to include Oakley's current role as Rusty Wallace Racing's official team outfitter.

* GAUGHAN AND COMPANY BACK IN BLACK--Like in 2009, Brendan Gaughan's No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry will again sport a paint scheme reminiscent of Rusty Wallace's famed No. 2 from the early 1990's. However, this year, the throwback concept gets more authentic, as three members of the No. 2 team from that era are now on Gaughan's No. 62 team. Former No. 2 tire specialist, Brad Parrott is Gaughan's crew chief, while former No. 2 crew chief, Buddy Parrott is the spotter for the No. 62. The venerable Mark "Hollywood" Armstrong is RWR's pit crew coach and tire changer for Gaughan's teammate, Steve Wallace.

* WELCOME ABOARD--RWR and 5-Hour Energy are proud to welcome Vons to their family of partners. The retailer will be featured on the television panel of Wallace's No. 66 for this weekend's event.


* NO. 66--STEVE WALLACE: Steve Wallace's primary chassis for this weekend is RWR-040. Chassis 040 is a new car recently built by RWR, with aerodynamic direction through its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing. His backup car for the weekend is RWR-042, a former CJM Racing car originally built in late 2009 under the direction of now-RWR crew chief Scott McDougall, for drivers Denny Hamlin and Mike Bliss.

* NO. 62--BRENDAN GAUGHAN: Gaughan's primary car for this weekend is the venerable RWR-018. Having made its debut in 2006 with a top-ten finish for Jamie McMurray at Phoenix, RWR-018 has seen some of RWR's brightest moments, including Steve Wallace's first career Nationwide Series pole, at Bristol in 2007. It was last raced by Wallace to a top-15 finish at Kansas last fall. Gaughan's backup is RWR-024, last year's Bristol spring pole winner that also nearly scored a victory at Kentucky and finished seventh at Vegas in a backup role.


STEVE WALLACE (NO. 66 5-HOUR ENERGY TOYOTA CAMRY): "I always look forward to racing at Auto Club Speedway. We have a lot of friends out there, whether they're guys from Oakley or Toyota...even the guys from Troy Lee that paint my helmets are out in Southern California. It's is a fun track to drive, because you can run a lot of different grooves--I typically run the bottom more there, but at the same time, you'll see guys like my teammate, Brendan Gaughan, right up against the wall. Auto Club's a really wide and fast track, so big time horsepower and downforce are keys to running up front there. Without both, you're just not going to be fast. Those happen to be two areas where I think our switch to Toyota is really going to help us. We had a top-ten at Auto Club in the first race last year and ran even better in the second race; we were up in the top-five for a long time and had some problems. So, when you combine all of that with the advantage that Toyota's program gives us, I'm looking for our 5-Hour Camry to be right up front on Saturday."

BRENDAN GAUGHAN (NO. 62 SOUTH POINT HOTEL & CASINO TOYOTA CAMRY): "California? I love racing at California. I grew up in Vegas, but I was born in L.A., so that has to count for something in terms of a "home field advantage." As far as the track, it's one of my favorites--you can run all over the place there. Everyone knows that I like to get "high, wide and handsome," and at Auto Club Speedway, the high groove can be the fast way around that place. We had two good runs there last year and we're planning on having an even better one with our South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry this time around."

-source: rusty wallace racing

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About this article
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rusty Wallace , Jamie McMurray , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Denny Hamlin , Steve Wallace
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Toyota Racing