The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NASCAR Winston Cup Series UAW-GM Quality 500 Preview: #2, Rusty Wallace

1 October 1997

 #2 Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 UAW-GM Quality 500 Advance
 Charlotte Motor Speedway
                    FOR CHARLOTTE UAW-GM QUALITY 500

CONCORD, NC - After trying two different race cars during the spring
races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and coming out of the Coca-Cola 600
with a second-place finish, Rusty Wallace and his Miller Lite Team
Penske have opted to leave both of those cars back at the shop for
this weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500.

Instead, Wallace and crew will be debuting a brand new Ford
Thunderbird in the CMS action.

"We brought back the PR-9, the car known as "Midnight," for The
Winston here back in May," said Wallace. "We won a ton of races with
that car before. We pretty much totaled it out at Charlotte in the May
race last year. The guys really had to put in a lot of hours to get it
back together again. Any magic that the car had before was gone this
time around. We struggled from the time we unloaded it off the
trailer. We put it back out to pasture after that race (the car was
actually taken to Martinsville as the backup last weekend) and brought
back the PC-3 for the 600. We massaged and massaged that car and got a
second-place finish out of it."

Why not bring the PC-3 back for this weekend's race?

"I guess many people would say that the logical thing would be to
bring that car back and continue to tweak on it, but we chose to do
differently," said crew chief Robin Pemberton. "I guess we're going
against the grain here. If it ain't broke, then why fix it?  Well, the
bottom line is that we're convinced that we have a much better mouse
trap here with the new car. We were darn sure pleased with it over at
the practice on the track last week."

Wallace was fastest in last week's practice at CMS, piloting his new
race car to the top speed of 179.104 mph (30.150 seconds) around the
1.5-mile race track.

Although Pemberton indicated that the new in-house-built chassis is
different from any of the other "PC-style" cars currently in the
Penske South stable, he offered that, "the changes are nothing really
radical. We just took what we had and made it better."

Wallace was amused when Pemberton brought to his attention that the
new car's official designation is the "PC-9."

"Rusty just had this kind of personal affection for the old number 9
car...the 'PR-9'...the one he named 'Midnight,'" said
Pemberton. "There just seemed to be something special there with that
old car. That's why it was so important to try to bring the thing back
out and run it at Charlotte back in May.

"I swear I saw a little twinkle in his eye when he found out that this
new car is a number 9, too. Maybe this new one will offer us a little
taste of the magic and success that Rusty had with that old car."

In 31 career starts at CMS, Wallace has recorded two wins, six
top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes.

Qualifying for Sunday's 500-mile, 334-lap race is set for sessions on
Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (for positions 1-25) and Thursday at 1:30
p.m. (to complete the potential 43-car starting field).

Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500 has a 1:10 p.m. EDT starting time and
features live coverage by TBS and PRN.

NOTE: While Wallace posted the fastest speed (179.104 mph/30.150
seconds) in last week's practice with his Ford Thunderbird, he also
tried out his first new Ford Taurus. "We've got our work cut out in
getting the Taurus up to speed, that's for sure," said Pemberton. "We
were a half-second slower with the Taurus. It's going to be a real
battle to get it competitive for next year. I guess it's going to be
an almost 'room and board' situation for it in the wind tunnel."
Pit-side witnesses clocked the Taurus at 30.58 seconds.  That equates
to a speed of 176.586 mph.

By Tom Roberts Public Relations