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NASCAR Winston Cup Series MBNA 400 Preview: #2, Rusty Wallace

19 September 1997

 #2 Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 MBNA 400 Advance
 Dover Downs International Speedway
                  FOR "BEAST" OF A RACE AT "MONSTER MILE"

DOVER, DE - After 300-mile events were held at Dover Downs
International Speedway in 1969 and 1970, 52 editions of 500-mile
events* have been staged on the track known as the "Monster Mile."
Sunday's running of the MBNA "400" will mark the first 400-lap,
400-mile race held on the 1.0-mile high-banked track.

"I think it was a welcomed change by drivers, crews, media, fans...everyone
involved," said Wallace, driver of the Miller Lite Team Penske Ford
Thunderbird. "Most of the races there in the past have taken as long as five
hours to complete. The new format will probably mean that it'll take about 3
1/2 hours from the drop of the green flag until the checkered. It'll be a
beast of a show for the drivers and fans alike, I'll guarantee you that.

"It definitely won't take anything away from the competition and will make for
a better race I think," said Wallace. "Nothing that significant will really
change much as far as preparation and strategy go. You'll probably see the
engine guys tweak the motors a little...stretch things and strain 'em a little
more than they would for 500 miles. It now becomes a little less of an
absolute endurance race like it was. You'll probably see some of the teams run
a little bit less conservative gear this time around, also due to it being 100
miles less of a demand on things.

"As far as the intensity level of the drivers, I don't see how that
can change during Sunday's race. We're all running flat-out all the
time like it is.  It'll just mean a fewer laps to go 'white-knuckled'
around the place. If you are unfortunate and get down a lap, it'll
mean a shorter time and distance to make up the lost ground. But, then
again, I can remember having the field covered in the June race there
in 1990 at the 400-mile mark, only to fall back to 10th during the
final 100 miles. Outside of those things, everything pretty much will
remain the same."

One thing that Wallace hopes does change this time around at Dover is
the bad luck that he experienced at the track in the June race. After
starting 18th and making up a lost lap in impressive fashion, Wallace
exited the race after 316 laps with a blown engine. He was credited
with a dismal 39th-place finish.

"That was a big disappointment during the June race," said
Wallace. "Dover had become a really strong track for us. We had won a
bunch of the races and had a lot of top-fives and top-10s up until
that race. We're looking to getting back on with the program so to
speak in Sunday's race."

Wallace won three straight races at Dover during the 1993 and 1994
seasons and then posted a ninth, a third, a seventh and a second in
the races preceding the June race. Overall, his career Dover record
boasts three wins, nine top-fives and 15 top-10s in 27 races.

Qualifying sessions for Sunday's race are set for Friday at 3:00
p.m. (for positions 1-25) and Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (for the
remainder of the potential 43-car starting field). The MBNA "400" has
a 12:10 p.m. EDT scheduled starting time on Sunday and features live
coverage by TNN and MRN Radio.

* NOTE: The two '69 & '70 300-mile races did not count as
superspeedway races. The 1974 edition of the Miller 500 was cut back
to 450 miles due to the country's fuel shortage. The 1975 edition of
the Miller 500 saw the field complete the first 140 miles on Sunday,
May 18, and the final 360 laps on Monday, May 19.

By Tom Roberts Public Relations