STEVE WALLACE: "I'VE HAD KENTUCKY CIRCLED." --Young Wheelman Gunning for Breakthrough First Victory; Determined Not to Give "Opportunity" Away This Time in Kentucky-- --Teammate Stremme Lighting up the Nationwide Series Competition, is Amongst the...
STEVE WALLACE: "I'VE HAD KENTUCKY CIRCLED."
--Young Wheelman Gunning for Breakthrough First Victory; Determined Not to
Give "Opportunity" Away This Time in Kentucky--
--Teammate Stremme Lighting up the Nationwide Series Competition, is Amongst the Favorites for Kentucky's Victory Lane--
SPARTA, KY (June 12, 2008) -- "Ever since we left there last year, I've had this year's race at Kentucky circled as one of our best shots to win," noted Steve Wallace.
In 2007 at Kentucky, the then-teenage wheelman was on the verge of a breakthrough first career victory. The young driver spent nearly the entire day amongst the top-five and was running second to leader Carl Edwards, until contact with Edwards on a laterace restart ended both drivers' days.
What was one of the darkest days of young Wallace's first full season in the Nationwide Series, however, has turned into a learning experience that now sees him consistently running amongst the leaders this year.
Stated Wallace, "Looking back at what happened at Kentucky last year really helped me to understand how I needed to improve as a race driver this season. Last year, our cars weren't very good, but instead of just driving the car within its capabilities, I constantly pushed to make that top-20 car a top-ten, or top-five, car.
"Thinking about last season and the Kentucky race, specifically, I learned a lot about patience and driving the car within its limits. Combining those things with the changes we've made at our organization, has made this a totally different team than the one you saw last year. We've gone from running like junk and wrecking cars, to running up front and contending for wins.
"Hopefully, our Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches Chevrolet is in a position to win late in this year's race as well, because this time around, I'm not planning on giving away the opportunity to win. Kentucky is one of my very favorite tracks; I've had a ton of success there in the past. I think that both of our RWR cars are going to be real contenders to end up in Victory Lane on Saturday night."
If history is any indication, Wallace's prediction could very well be correct. The 20-year old wheelman won the 2006 Kentucky ARCA race from the pole. In the process, he set a new track record and recorded one of the best post-race burnouts in recent history, literally burning the tires off of his RWR No. 61 entry. Following that performance, Wallace went on to record an 11th place finish at Kentucky's 2006 Nationwide Series race, in what was only his seventh career start in the series.
While Steve Wallace will definitely be amongst the favorites to win on Saturday night in Kentucky, his teammate, David Stremme, will undoubtedly be on that list as well. Stremme is arguably the Nationwide Series's hottest driver, with three top-three and eight top-ten finishes in his last ten starts.
The last time Stremme finished worse than 12th was over two months ago and the Hoosier enters Kentucky with two consecutive top-three finishes, including a runner-up effort last week at Nashville.
Much like his young teammate, Stremme has experienced success on Kentucky's 1.5-mile oval as well. In last year's running of this event, Stremme started 27th and clawed his way forward, avoiding the Wallace-Edwards skirmish to score a fourth-place finish.
Said Stremme, "I just can't say enough about how well this team is performing right now. We're an independent Nationwide team running with the Cup guys, week-in and week-out. Dale Ferguson and my guys are doing a great job with these cars and it's just a matter of time before we win one of these things. I'm really looking at the next two races as great shots for us to put our Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet in Victory Lane. It'd be really cool to see a RWR 1-2 finish and this weekend's race at Kentucky is one in which it could definitely happen."