WALLACE WRANGLES SECOND-STRAIGHT TEXAS TOP-TEN --5-Hour Energy Pilot Tightens Screws Ever Further in Top-Ten Points Battle-- FORT WORTH, TX (November 6, 2010)--"We'll take 'em any way we can get 'em." That was the sentiment among Steve Wallace's...
WALLACE WRANGLES SECOND-STRAIGHT TEXAS TOP-TEN
--5-Hour Energy Pilot Tightens Screws Ever Further in Top-Ten Points Battle--
FORT WORTH, TX (November 6, 2010)--"We'll take 'em any way we can get 'em." That was the sentiment among Steve Wallace's No. 66 5-Hour Energy team Saturday afternoon, following a hard-fought tenth-place effort in the O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.
After recording a ninth-place start for Saturday afternoon's race, hopes were high in the No. 66 camp. As the race unfolded, however, Wallace and team found themselves in a constant battle with their unruly Toyota Camry. A difficult tight condition persisted throughout the day and despite the team's best efforts, the No. 66 car fell a lap down to the leaders just prior to the race's three-quarter mark.
Although a lap down, a quiet persistence remained in Wallace's 5-Hour Energy camp. Such persistence ultimately paid dividends on lap 186, when the caution flew for an accident on the back straightaway. The ensuing caution period allowed Wallace to charge his way back onto the lead lap for a final ten-lap shootout.
Resolved to make up for his car's poor handling with pure skill and determination alone, Wallace lined up in the 19th starting position for what looked to be a nine-lap Texas shootout. Immediately upon the drop of the green flag, Wallace went to the whip, making quick work of David Reutimann, Michael Annett, Brian Scott and Clint Bowyer over the next eight laps.
The then 15th-place Wallace would get one final crack at the leaders, when the day's final caution period flew when Bowyer's engine expired with just two laps remaining. What ensued was a green-white-checkered finish that would see Wallace turn in nothing short of a pure display of strength. After the cleanup from Bowyer's engine, Wallace remained in the 15th position for the race's final restart on lap 203.
Knowing the task at hand, the 5-Hour Energy pilot wasted no time upon the drop of the green flag, powering past Penske Racing's Justin Allgaier, JR Motorsports' Aric Almirola and the Roush-Fenway trio of Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Eric Darnell, all before the field exited turn two.
Over the final lap and a half, Wallace would pull to an advantage of several car lengths over Stenhouse, en route to a tenth-place effort, his second-straight top-ten at Texas Motor Speedway. It was his fourth finish of 12th or better in the last six races and increased his career-best top-ten mark to 12.
With his finish in Texas, Wallace tightened the screws even further in the battle for the year-end top-ten. He gained an additional 21 points over his 11th-place teammate, former Texas winner Brendan Gaughan, who brought his No. 62 LoanStar Title Loans Camry home to a 17th-place finish in Texas.
Wallace now leads Gaughan by 145 points and can clench a place in the top-ten with a finish of 13th or better in the final two races; he scored top-ten finishes in the 2009 editions of both events.
Additionally, Wallace remains in the middle of a ferocious fight for seventh through tenth in the standings. A mere 77 points separate tenth-place Wallace from seventh-place Trevor Bayne.
Said Wallace, "We definitely didn't have the car that we needed today. Every run, we'd start out really loose and it would swing to being super tight within ten laps or so; we were wearing tires like crazy. It was one of those days where none of our adjustments really seemed to make a difference.
"So, once we got back on the lead lap with ten to go, I knew the only way we'd have a chance at a top-ten was to get up on the wheel and do it the old-fashioned way. I pretty much just held my breath and got after it. Luckily, we were able to get out of there with a top-ten; we probably didn't have a top-ten car today, but sometimes that's just the way it works. We'll take it though and head back to a short track next week at Phoenix where we know we'll be strong."
-source: rusty wallace racing