STREMME STRIKES FOR 16TH TOP-TEN OF 2008 IN TEXAS Pit Stop Issues Derail Promising Run for RWR Teammate Steve Wallace FORT WORTH, TX (November 1, 2008)--Rusty Wallace Racing's David Stremme and his No. 64 Chevrolet team continued their strong...
STREMME STRIKES FOR 16TH TOP-TEN OF 2008 IN TEXAS
Pit Stop Issues Derail Promising Run for RWR Teammate Steve Wallace
FORT WORTH, TX (November 1, 2008)--Rusty Wallace Racing's David Stremme and his No. 64 Chevrolet team continued their strong run through the NASCAR Nationwide Series this afternoon, scoring their 16th top-ten finish of 2008 in today's O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. Despite Stremme's competing in only 30 of 33 events thus far in 2008, his 16 top-ten finishes now mark the second-highest total of all Nationwide Series drivers and the sixth-highest total overall.
While the day ended with a promising finish for the No. 64 Loan Star Title Loans Chevrolet, Stremme and his Dale Ferguson-led squad faced an uphill battle throughout much of the day. After running among the top-ten throughout the first half of the race, Stremme was accused by NASCAR officials of pitting several inches outside of his assigned pit stall during the race's second pit stop. The subsequent penalty, issued on lap 112, saw the No. 64 team fall two laps down to the leaders.
With much perseverance, Stremme was able to regain both of his laps lost to the leaders and rejoin the lead lap on lap 181, with just 19 laps remaining in the race. Following the day's final caution period, on lap 191, Stremme's No. 64 Chevrolet was able to charge past the No. 00 Toyota of Josh Wise and once again into the tenth position, where he would ultimately finish.
With his result, Stremme remains in sole position of 11th-place in the 2008 Driver Standings. He stands just 116 points behind No. 59-Marcos Ambrose for the final spot in the top-ten, despite competing in only 30 of 33 events thus far in 2008.
Noted Stremme, "All in all, I'm proud of how well we were able to recover from our pit road problems today. I made a little bit of a mistake and it could have really cost us a lot. But, just like usual, this No. 64 Rusty Wallace Racing team stayed behind me the entire time and didn't give up. While I really think that we had a top-five car, to be able to come back for our second-straight top-ten was pretty cool."
While pit road troubles certainly affected Stremme and the No. 64 team on Saturday, they were the story of the day for his young teammate, No. 66-Steve Wallace. After an early qualifying draw hampered the No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet's qualifying effort, Wallace qualified his No. 66 in the 23rd position for the start of the event.
Immediately upon the start of the race, Wallace showed that he would have the speed to compete with the race's leaders, climbing 12 spots to run as high as 11th position during the first 50 laps of the event.
Unfortunately for Wallace and the No. 66 team, their pit road problems would strike shortly thereafter, under the team's first stop of the day around lap 51. During that stop, fueling issues prohibited the No. 66 team from completely filling the car with fuel. While not an immediate problem at the time, this would ultimately catch up with the team, as they were forced to pit much earlier than the remainder of the field during the next pit stop sequence.
Wallace made that next stop, from a lead lap position, on lap 96. Following the lap 96 stop, NASCAR officials ordered the No. 66 to return to pit road a second time, for supposed missing lug nuts on the left front wheel. Following the penalty, Wallace returned to competition nearly four laps down to the leaders, who had yet to make their second stops of the day.
The No. 66 team's primary hope to regain their lost laps disappeared on lap 115, as the day's second caution flag flew, for the No. 23 car being stalled on track. The caution flag flew prior to the majority of the leaders having made their second pit stops. This effectively trapped Wallace three laps down to the leaders and effectively out of contention for his second-straight top-ten finish.
Despite the quick and highly frustrating turn of events, the Team 5-Hour Energy driver was able to maintain his focus and composure during the remainder of the event, bringing home his No. 66 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet relatively unscathed and able to fight another day.
Stated Wallace, "Today was the kind of day that's the most frustrating for any race car driver. While I don't know that we quite had a top-five car today, I really thought that our 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet was good enough to run up in the top-ten.
"When you're in the car fighting as hard as you can and a mistake totally out of your control ruins that, it's really frustrating. But, this is definitely a team sport. We win as a team and we lose as a team. At least our car is in one piece, so we're going to go home, figure out the pit stop problem and fix it.
"Our cars have been really fast over the past couple of months, but we just seem to have had a lot of bad luck. We're going to work hard to make sure that this team starts getting the finishes it deserves. Who knows, we might just end up with another top-five or better before the year is over."