STEVE WALLACE, STREMME PERSEVERE FOR PAIR OF TOP-TEN FINISHES IN MEMPHIS MILLINGTON, TN (October 25, 2008)--A day that started with much promise for Rusty Wallace Racing teammates Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet) and David Stremme...
STEVE WALLACE, STREMME PERSEVERE FOR PAIR OF TOP-TEN FINISHES IN MEMPHIS
MILLINGTON, TN (October 25, 2008)--A day that started with much promise for Rusty Wallace Racing teammates Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet) and David Stremme (No. 64 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet) saw the duo persevere through one of the oddest races in recent Nationwide Series history to capture a pair of top-ten finishes this afternoon at Memphis Motorsports Park in Tennessee.
After posting the 1st and 2nd fastest times, respectively, in yesterday's final practice, Wallace and Stremme would end up starting this afternoon's race from the 6th and 2nd positions. Speculation prior to the event centered on the near-record number of cautions during last year's edition of the race, but the field would soon find this year's event to be much different.
Upon the start of the race, the RWR teammates would show their strength, maintaining their starting positions through the first 15 laps of the race. The day's second caution would fly soon after--at lap 29--and would prove to be one of the pivotal moments of the race.
Under this caution, the leaders of the race--including Wallace and Stremme--stayed on the racetrack, while several cars towards the tail-end of the field made their ways to pit road. What would ensue following this round of pit stops was almost unthinkable before the race: a near 100-lap green flag run.
During this run, the leaders were forced to pit under green for tires and fuel. The 30-lap margin held by the cars that pitted under the lap 29 caution was enough to keep them on the racetrack until the day's next caution flew on lap 126. The lap 126 caution thus forced all but four of the 43 starters, including both of the RWR drivers, two laps down to those who had pitted under the lap 29 caution.
The remainder of the race saw only three more yellow-flag periods before the lap 240 mark, providing little opportunity for teams to regain lost laps. Despite this, Wallace and Stremme would maintain composure throughout the remainder of the event, focusing on earning the best finishing position possible considering their lost laps.
Both drivers once again moved into the top-12 by lap 150 and would stay there for nearly the remainder of the event. By lap 240, Stremme and Wallace had moved into the top-ten, running 9th and 10th, respectively. The day's penultimate caution flew on lap 242, setting up what seemed to be a seven-lap dash to the finish. Upon the lap 244 restart and with the checkered flag near, Wallace and the No. 66 went on the offensive against his teammate Stremme, muscling by the No. 64 car for ninth.
Despite a final green-white-checkered restart, the RWR drivers were able to maintain their positions and bring home the No. 66 and No. 64 entries with top-ten finishes. The event marked the fourth time this season that both RWR drivers have claimed top-ten finishes in the same event. The team's average finish of 9.5 in today's Memphis event marked its fifth-best overall performance of the season.
The next event for Rusty Wallace Racing is the Saturday, November 1st showdown at the glistening Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Ninth-Place Finisher: Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet)
"Today was definitely one of the most frustrating races of my career. We had a really good car; one that we feel could have finished in the top-five, easily. To have such a good day ruined by such a freak deal makes this one really hard to take. My 5-Hour Energy team worked hard though; they didn't give up and we were able to salvage a top-ten.
"The good news is that, although our finishes might not show it, this team has been performing really well over the past two months. We've been up front and in the top-ten consistently, but have had just a lot of bad luck. Whether it be engine failures, accidents or otherwise, we just haven't gotten the finishes to prove our good performance. Hopefully, coming out of this mess with a top-ten is a sign that our luck is starting to turn around."
Tenth-Place Finisher: David Stremme (No. 64 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet)
"Looking back at today, there isn't anything I would have done differently about our first pit stop. Our guys have to make the best decisions they can using the information they have. No one would have ever dreamed that this race would go almost 100 laps without a caution. It's definitely frustrating, because we feel like we had a top-five car. It was just bad luck, I guess. Overall, we had a pretty good car today and a pair of top-tens gives our team a lot of momentum heading into the last three races. Hopefully, we'll be able to pull everything together and get a win for this team before the year is over."