NASCAR WCUP: Kenny Wallace struggles at Indy, Getting set for Watkins Glen

10 August 1999

CHARLOTTE, N.C., - To rank all of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in terms of prestige, the Brickyard 400 comes in a close second behind the season-opening Daytona 500. Knowing this, a Brickyard 400 win is an extremely coveted win.

In an effort to snare the Brickyard 400 trophy, the Square D Racing Team built a brand new race car specifically designed for the intricacies of Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2.5-mile oval. But as 12th century monk St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

For Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace, that road led to Speedway, Ind. From the time the team unloaded for Thursday's first round of qualifying to the end of Saturday's Brickyard 400, they struggled..

>From 41st on the grid via a provisional starting berth, Wallace found himself last after just one lap into the 160-lap affair. An ill-handling race car that pushed in the middle of the corners before becoming extremely loose upon exiting the corners could never be remedied. Not even changing the front shocks for stiffer ones during a pit stop on lap 44 relieved the Square D Chevy's handling woes. When the checkered flag finally waved, Wallace crossed the stripe in 39th position.

"We tried building a special car for a special race, and it bit us," said Wallace. "We tried to duplicate a car that we've had a lot of success with at flat tracks like Phoenix and Loudon (N.H.). But the car just didn't do what we wanted it to do. We learned our lesson today, but we'll keep our head up and go to Watkins Glen (N.Y.)."

When pop-singer Sheryl Crow belts out her hit single, "A Change Will Do You Good," perhaps she's referring to Square D Chevrolet driver Kenny Wallace.

As the second and final road course event on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series calendar, this Sunday's Frontier at The Glen provides Wallace with a change in scenery. The twisting 2.45-mile layout of Watkins (N.Y.) International gives Wallace an opportunity to cut loose from the traditional oval tracks, and instead turn left and right on the winding road course.

"Watkins Glen is a nice break from the circle track races," said Wallace, "and I'm going there with a lot of confidence in the car we're taking. APR (Andy Petree Racing) and (crew chief) Jimmy Elledge built me a really good car for our last road course race at Sears Point. We ran strong with it, brought it back in one piece, and it's been sitting in a corner of the shop ever since.

"I feel good about the setup we ran at Sears Point, and we're going to stay with that same basic setup for The Glen. The geometry on the car is just right, and it responds really well to any adjustments we make.

"Hopefully, Watkins Glen will be a cleaner race than Sears Point. We had a lot of wrecks out there with the track coming up. So, we were really lucky to get out of there without getting our car torn-up."

Editors Note: For hundreds of hot racing photos and racing art, be sure to visit The Racing ImageGalleries and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.

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