S. WALLACE REBOUNDS FOR TOP-15 FINISH IN HOMESTEAD --Season Finale Ends with Rusty Wallace Racing's No. 64 Ranked Among Top-Ten Overall-- HOMESTEAD, FL (November 16, 2008)--Team Jimmy John's Rusty Wallace Racing driver, Steve Wallace overcame...
S. WALLACE REBOUNDS FOR TOP-15 FINISH IN HOMESTEAD
--Season Finale Ends with Rusty Wallace Racing's No. 64 Ranked Among Top-Ten Overall--
HOMESTEAD, FL (November 16, 2008)--Team Jimmy John's Rusty Wallace Racing driver, Steve Wallace overcame a early race pit stop miscue and subsequent penalty Saturday evening to score a top-15 finish in Saturday's Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
While Wallace's No. 66 Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches team finished with a solid result, today's race required a hard-fought and resilient effort by the young wheelman. Wallace and his No. 66 team started Saturday night's event from the outside of row 11. However, as the race went through its early stages, Wallace looked to be one of the day's true contenders, consistently pounding out top-five lap times throughout the race's first 50 laps.
By the team's first pit stop, around lap 56, Wallace had climbed seven positions, to crack the race's top-15. He would soon be placed at a large deficit though, when under that pit stop, his No. 66 team was penalized by NASCAR for an accused failure to remain in contact with the car's left rear tire. The penalty would drop Wallace from the race's lead lap.
The young driver would stay remarkably persistent throughout the entire race and that persistence finally paid off when he made his way back onto the lead lap with around 50 laps remaining in the event. Strong driving and good pit strategy allowed Wallace to gain five positions in the race's final 20 laps--the most of any driver--and bring home the No. 66 Chevrolet to a 15th place finish.
Said Wallace, "We had a really awesome car in the first third of the race; we were laying down top-five lap times and really mowing through the field. The car was just a little bit loose, but still pretty drivable. Then, we hit pit road and the guys made a mistake. That got us back in traffic and believe it or not, track position made a huge difference for us from there; our car got really tight in dirty air.
"We had a lot of fast cars in the last half of the year, but just seemed to have a lot of bad luck, whether it was blown engines, accidents or pit stop problems like today. We're going to work really hard in the off-season to make sure that our pit crew is one of the best on pit road. I really feel like we had at least a top-ten car today, but that penalty was just too much for us really for us to overcome."
Meanwhile, Wallace's RWR teammate, David Stremme, brought home his No. 64 Chevrolet to a 16th-place finish in what was the season finale for the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series. By doing so, Stremme's No. 64 squad captured for RWR its first top-ten finish in the Nationwide Series owner's standings. The 2008 season marked only the team's fourth season of full-time competition.
Saturday's race was another consistent performance for the ever-steady Stremme. After starting the event from the outside of row 14, Stremme rocketed through the field in the race's early laps, cracking the top-20 for the first time by lap ten. He and his No. 64 Dale Ferguson-led team would spend the majority of the race's second-half among the top-15, before being barely edged out by his teammate Wallace, in the race's final four-lap dash to the finish.
For Stremme, the 2008 season was one of remarkable consistency; his effort in Homestead marked his 25th top-20 finish in 32 2008 starts. Stremme and the No. 64 team posted an equally-impressive 16 top-ten finishes en route to their top-ten overall finish in the 2008 owner's standings.
Noted Stremme, "I really had a lot of fun this season. They've put together a great group of people here and that makes it fun to go to the racetrack every weekend. It's too bad that we couldn't end up with a better run than we did, but we were just a little bit off on the setup today. For us to have a bad day and still end up 16th just goes to show how strong this Rusty Wallace Racing team is. I'm really proud that we were able to get this No. 64 team up in the top-ten of the standings."