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Rusty Wallace celebrated his final season by making the Chase.

Rusty Wallace

Credit: Autostock

YIR: Rusty Wallace
Veteran driver retires with one of his most successful seasons
By Ryan Smithson, NASCAR.COM
December 15, 2005
11:25 AM EST (16:25 GMT)


They say 50 is the new 30. Even though Rusty Wallace had the energy of a 30-year-old in 2005, he knew it was time to hang it up.

Wallace can smile on the fact that he joined Bill Elliott in finishing his final season in the top 10 in points. It was an unexpected comeback by Wallace, who wasn't expected to have much of a golden parachute after finishing 14th in 2003 and 16th in 2004.

Inside the Numbers
Rusty Wallace in 2005
Race Start Finish
Daytona 500 36 10

Auto Club 500 23 10
UAW-DaimChr 400 21 12

Golden Corral 500 32 27
Food City 500 3 13

Advance 500 4 5
Sam/RadSh 500 6 10

Subway Fresh 500 9 36
Aaron's 499 20 22

Dodge Charger 500 12 12
Chevy 400 8 19

Coca-Cola 600 20 10
MBNA 400 11 5

Pocono 500 12 11
Batman 400 12 10

Dodge/S. Mart 350 14 4
Pepsi 400 9 4

USG 400 33 12
New England 300 6 8

Penn. 500 13 2
Allstate 400 41 25

Sirius at the Glen 4 6
GFS 400 38 13

Sharpie 500 20 5
Sony HD 500 34 15

Chevy 400 15 5
Sylvania 300 7 6

MBNA 400 6 3
UAW-Ford 500 41 25

Banquet 400 33 7
UAW-GM Quality 500 27 24

Subway 500 3 19
Bass Pro/MBNA 500 32 37

Dickies 500 26 22
Checker 500 26 29

Ford 400 37 13
Average 19.2 13.7


But in 2005, Wallace drove like every lap counted. In a way, it did, and he managed to complete almost every lap of the season -- he was running at the finish in all 36 races.

He was one of the few Dodge drivers who experienced any sort of consistency with the new Charger. And while Wallace didn't qualify well, he usually stayed in the hunt on Sundays, especially on the flat tracks, where the Charger excelled.

It was a remarkable turnaround from a troubled 2004 campaign in which Wallace criticized his team, his teammate -- or both. Too often, mistakes were made, and tempers flared.

Wallace's final season, however, wasn't filled with many mistakes. He spent 15 weeks in the top five in points, and only a late-season run of bad luck prevented him from finishing with his best season in years.

Like a lot of drivers, Wallace's season effectively ended on Oct. 15, when he crashed at Charlotte and finished 24th. That crash knocked him out of title contention and started a stretch of six races without a top-10, his longest such streak of the year.

Wallace was spun late in the race the following week at Martinsville, and he crashed early the next week at Atlanta.

"It was like five races in a row -- bam, bam, bam, bam, bam -- ripped me right out of this point thing," Wallace said. "It's been a really tough deal, but all year long it's been wonderful.

"How can you go all year long with no problems at all and then the world comes crashing in with five to go? It happened. That's the way it is, I guess."

Wallace's season can best be defined by an outstanding streak he enjoyed from late May to late July. In those nine weeks, Wallace never finished worse than 12th, and he moved from 11th to fourth in the points.

That summer stretch put Wallace into the Chase by a wide margin.

"We were locked in the top 10 two races before the thing was over," Wallace said. "The highlight has been all the consistent great runs and locking up my spot in the Chase for the Championship with two races to go.

"That was my goal, get myself back in the top 10, where we've always been, and we did that."

Wallace went winless in 2005, and he led only 259 laps to fall just 28 short of leading 20,000 in his career. He finished second behind a dominant Kurt Busch at Pocono, and he was third at Dover eight weeks later.

Dover was Wallace's last hurrah and final top-10, and he was only seven points out of the lead when the circuit hit Talladega with eight races to go.

"Three races into the thing and we're still second in the points," Wallace said. "Then everything broke down."

Wallace says the painful final month doesn't take any luster of his final season.

"I'm on top," he said. "In my mind, I'm on top, and I hope the fans think that. I think I went out with style and grace, and I think I went out on top, too."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR
(256) 508-2595

 

           M.I.S. HOLDS MUCH HISTORY FOR MILLER LITE DRIVER RUSTY WALLACE


-Win In June 1994 Miller Genuine Draft 400 Tops His List Of Fond Michigan Memories-
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2005) – Through his illustrious NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career that
spans some 22 years, Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace has enjoyed a special relationship with
the 2.0-mile high-banked Michigan International Speedway.

The finely manicured track located in Michigan’s Irish Hills has been the site of several “firsts”
during Wallace’s 684-race career on stock car racing’s most elite tour. He claimed his first career Cup
pole in qualifying for the June 1987 race at M.I.S. His win in the June 1988 event marked his first oval
track superspeedway victory. His win in the June 1996 race came after getting superb fuel mileage and
rates as his lone “fuel mileage victory” to date.

With a Michigan track record that boasts five wins, 15 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 finishes in
42 races, Wallace could certainly be looked upon as an authority in knowing how to get the job done
there.

“Michigan has been a great track for us through the years, that’s for sure,” said Wallace,
currently eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings after finishing 11th at Pocono last
Sunday. “You have to have a great handling car and a ton of horsepower. It’s a track that usually
doesn’t have many cautions and that’s what produces the fuel mileage races that the place is known
for. The pit strategy and having great pit stops are always important there.

“Power, durability, handling and mileage -- that about sums it up,” said Wallace, in the middle of
his final “Last Call” season behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge. “Those are the vital ingredients
to winning races at Michigan and we’ve used ‘em all at one time or another through the years to come
home the winner there.

“Through the years, we’ve definitely had some really strong hot rods under us at Michigan and
the guys in the engine room have given me some flat out stump-pulling engines, that’s for sure,”
Wallace recalled. “I remember the win we had with the car we called Mad Max there a few seasons
back (in the August 2000 race). “We were out there at one stretch running laps almost three tenths (of
a second) faster than the closest other car and most of that was because we could pull everybody else
a good 10 car lengths down the straightaways. You pick up that much per lap on a guy and it’s pretty
easy to see how you can build up a straightaway lead like we did in that race.”
Among Wallace’s five Michigan wins is the only victory he can recall during his impressive
career that was due to his car getting superb fuel mileage.

“That first race of ’96 will always stick out in my mind as being a special win because we won it
on fuel mileage,” Wallace said. “What’s really so unique is that through the years we’ve lost a ton of
races because some other team would get a little bit better mileage. Well, this was the one time that
we actually came home the winners that day due to getting the best fuel mileage.”

"We weren't 10 laps into the race when I had already commented about the engine being down
on power," recalled Wallace, who started 18th that day. "I remember that we were down on power, but
we were able to take advantage of the situation. Robin (Pemberton) was calling the shots from the
pits back then and we planned our strategy long before the halfway mark and it all worked out in our
favor. We had it nailed right to the lap in making the pit stops work out and we came home the winner
with the gas tank almost bone dry. They asked Robin after the race how much fuel we had left and he
told them that he wouldn't be afraid to drink all that was left in there."

With its sweeping 18-degree banked turns and extremely wide 2,200-foot straightaways, the 2.0-mile M.I.S. layout offers a contrast of views among those who labor along the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tour. “M.I.S. can be a driver’s dream, but an engine man’s nightmare,” said Wallace, the active statistical leader at the track entering this weekend’s   Batman Begins 400. “We drivers are out there grinning from ear to ear and blasting down those long straightaways. I’ll bet you don’t see too many of the engine guys smiling and cutting up back in the pits. Most of ‘em are nervous as heck. The place is really tough on engines. We’ve lost four or five there in the races through the years, including the one we blew there last August.”

While Wallace has enjoyed several monumental moments at M.I.S., he is quick to point to his victory in the June 1994 Miller Genuine Draft 400 as his favorite. “That was a special win, that’s for sure,” said Wallace of his third of five career wins on the track. “That win was probably tops of them all at Michigan and it rates right up there among my all- ime favorite wins anywhere.

“It was the first NASCAR win that Roger (Penske, team owner) had there on the track he’d owned since back in the 70s,” Wallace explained. “We wound up naming the car ‘Captain’ after we won the race in honor of Roger.

“Not only was it a great win from the historical angle, but the way we won it will always stand out in my mind as being pretty spectacular,” Wallace continued. “It started off with us running over a brake rotor during an early caution (on Lap 75 during the fourth caution period).

“We had to pit for four more tires and got behind right there. But our car was so strong that we were able to fight our way back to the front. “We wound up leading a ton of the race (led three times for 83 laps), but we almost lost the thing by trying to stretch the fuel mileage too far. There were only about 25 laps to go and we had almost a half straightaway lead over (Dale) Earnhardt. Just when we were scheduled to pit, somebody (Bobby Hillin) spun in Turn 4 and I had to go all the way back around the track. By the time I got to Turn 2, the engine wasn’t getting any fuel at all and I had to hit the apron for it to pick up what was left. We actually coasted down pit road with no power at all.

“I couldn’t get it refired when they were through with the pit stop and Buddy Parrott (crew chief at the time) had to spray the ether to it. The team was pushing and Buddy was propped up on it like a hood ornamentspraying that ether. He hit a final shot in there and that car launched like a top fuel dragster. Buddy’s ride and spill of the car down pit road looked pretty spectacular on TV and it made the highlight reels for that season and several to come.

“But the action was really just getting started as far as the finish of that race went,” continued Wallace. “When the race restarted, we were way back in 11th and there were only 12 laps to go. I really took some chances and knocked off about four of ‘em on that first lap back to green. We got all the way up to second with about three laps to go, but I had Mark Martin breathing down my neck pretty hard, too. We finally chased Dale down tofight for the lead on the final lap. I knew if I could get a fender under his rearquarter panel that I could get up beside him in Turn 3 and he’d have to get off the throttle a little in the middle of the turn. That move worked absolutely perfect and I was able to use the great horsepower we had to get on around him and motor on down for the checkered flag.

“That was as dramatic of a win that I’ve ever had,” said Wallace. “It was a real nail-biter all the way down to the finish and was a victory that I’ll always remember.

This weekend’s “impound race” schedule calls for final practice on Friday at 4:00 p.m. Saturday’s 12:05 p.m. qualifying session will set the 43-car starting field for Sunday’s 200-lap, 400-mile battle. Sunday’s Batman Begins 400 has a 2:10 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

June 7, 2005

                          WALLACE SAYS “ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AT POCONO”

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Recalls The 1994 Pocono 500 As “His Most Dominating Weekend Of Racing At Pocono”-

LONG POND, Pa. (June 7, 2005) – Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace will be participating in his 43rd career NASCAR big-league race at Pocono Raceway this weekend and after 21 seasons of tackling the tricky triangular  track, he still doesn’t know quite what to expect.

“You pretty much come into the Pocono races always expecting the  unexpected to happen,” Wallace said with a chuckle as he thought about his four career wins and three career poles on the 2.5-mile layout. “It’s a really demanding place, with the long frontstretch and that tunnel turn separating two other straightaways.

“You always know that the competition will be fierce and there’s always the chance of it coming down to fuel mileage at the end,” Wallace contends, “but there always seems to be the weird things happening there, too.

“I’ve been racing there long enough to see stuff happen that I’ve never seen happen anywhere else before,” said Wallace, whose fifth-place finish Sunday at Dover, Del., launched him back up to seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. “Where else have we raced when the caution flies for deer on the track? I’ll never forget when Neal Bonnett hit one while driving for Junior Johnson. They had to throw the red flag during the practice session  that day and Neal drove his car back into the garage with the antlers hanging out of the grill.

“It wasn’t too many years ago there where we had an extended caution period while NASCAR officials chased and cornered a rabbit on the frontstretch. That was pretty weird, too.

“The track is just so big and so unusual – up there in the mountains and with all the wildlife in the area,” Wallace continued. “Back during my rookie season (1984), we were racing there when a thunderstorm struck. NASCAR wasn’t too quick to throw the red flag and by the time we’d gotten down the Long Pond stretch, it was like a monsoon had hit over there.

It was so bad that Bobby Allison hydroplaned into the tunnel turn wall and totaled his car out before we could get back around to the frontstretch and stop our cars.

“And the weather there – it can be different as night and day. It can be so foggy that you can’t see 20 feet in front of you. At the same time, you can drive down the road a few miles and it’ll be crystal clear. I always keep a jacket and an umbrella handy when we go to Pocono. That’s really strange when you consider that their races are in June and July and it’s normally dryer and hotter than heck everywhere else that time of year. I remember a couple of years ago when we had water seepage on the track and couldn’t get practice or qualifying in.

“There have been plenty of wild crashes there through the years and I’ve even had a few,” Wallace continued. “The crash we had several years ago (in June 1999 race) when I blew a right-front tire going into the first turn. I hit that wall a ton and said at the time that it was the hardest hit I’d had in my life. I’ll say this -- it was a hit like you wouldn’t believe and knocked me goofy and into another time zone for a few minutes.

“I’ll always remember that crash Davey Allison had over in the tunnel turn. His car got up on the old guard rail on the inside and flipped wildly. The videotape showed Davey’s arms all flinging outside the driver’s window and it was amazing he wasn’t hurt any worse than he was.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slamming the track or nothing like that,” said Wallace. “It’s just the location and configuration of the track is so different from anywhere else we race and that’s just fine with me. It’s always a nice change of pace to come and race at Pocono and the Mattioli Family does a tremendous job to make us all feel at home there. But you could certainly write a book about all the weird stuff that’s happened there through the years.”

* * *

Aside from all the weirdness that has occurred at Pocono Raceway, which June race stands out in his mind as most memorable?

“Man, that weekend we had there in June of ’94 would be hard to beat,” offered Wallace, as if it just occurred recently. “Things don’t get much better than that, when you win the pole with a new track record and then go dominate and winthe race like we did. But you’d never know that whole story if you just looked at the record book.

“That was during a three-week period where we stayed out on the road,” recalled Wallace, a four-time Pocono race winner. “We’d won the race in Dover and gone to test at Michigan, before coming back to race at Pocono. We didn’t go home until after that race. We had so much success that Todd Parrott (team chassis specialist at the time) called it our ‘magical mystery tour.’ We were really in a zone during that stretch.

“I remember that we really blew ‘em away in qualifying with that new track record,” said Wallace of his lap of 164.558 mph (54.692 seconds). “The race was late getting started because of the weather that day, too. When they threw the green flag, we just took off.

“We just totally dominated the thing (leading eight times for 141 of the 200 laps), but we almost lost it at the end. We were out front by a mile (had a 20-second lead over Dale Earnhardt) when the caution came out (on Lap 194 for debris after Mark Martin cut a right rear tire). Buddy Parrott was the crew chief back then and he called me down pit road for four tires. Earnhardt came in and he got only right sides and had the lead for the restart. There were several cars on the tail end of the lead lap and

NASCAR was having a problem lining them up in their proper order.

“There I was, thinking that we were gonna’ end the thing under yellow and Dale was gonna’ steal a win like that from us. Buddy was down there screaming in the official’s face and we finally got to go back to green with one lap remaining. With my four fresh tires, I was able to get underneath Dale going into Turn 1 and then hold him off the rest of the way around and won the thing by about two car lengths. I had no idea what all the confusion was about during the caution. I just knew that Dale was the leader and I had to get back around him. If it hadn’t gone back to green that day, ‘ol Rusty would be sitting here today looking at 54 wins and not 55.”

* * *

This weekend’s “impound schedule” calls for Friday practice beginning at 1:20 p.m. Saturday’s 12:10 p.m. qualifying session will determine the 43-car starting field, with the cars impounded at the conclusion of time trials. Sunday’s Pocono 500 has a 1:40 p.m. EDT start and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-
POCONO RACEWAY
(2.5 miles)
Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status
6/13/04 Pocono 500 Dodge 30 32 167/200 $96,673 Accident
8/1/04 Pennsylvania 500 Dodge 12 17 200/200 99,423 Running
6/8/03 Pocono 500 Dodge 27 16 200/200 84,957 Running
7/27/03 Pennsylvania 500 Dodge 7 11 200/200 88,107 Running
6/9/02 Pocono 500 Ford 5 9 200/200 89,315 Running
7/28/02 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 8 40 83/175 79,350 Suspension
6/17/01 Pocono 500 Ford 16 16 199/200 80,580 Running
7/29/01 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 22 6 200/200 88,555 Running
6/18/00 Pocono 500 Ford 1 10 200/200 76,690 Running
7/23/00 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 2 1 200/200 125,745 Running
6/20/99 Pocono 500 Ford 14 43 7/200 44,020 Crash
7/25/99 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 17 18 199/200 44,840 Running
6/21/98 Pocono 500 Ford 2 42 13/200 27,915 Engine
7/26/98 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 3 6 200/200 49,990 Running
6/8/97 Pocono 500 Ford 16 22 199/200 28,405 Running
7/20/97 Pennsylvania 500 Ford 39 37 174/200 27,575 Electrical
6/16/96 UAW-GM 500 Ford 19 31 153/200 34,085 Running
7/21/96 Miller 500 Ford 13 1 200/200 59,165 Running
6/11/95 UAW-GM 500 Ford 8 17 199/200 25,255 Running
7/16/95 MGD 500 Ford 22 16 200/200 30,480 Running
6/12/94 UAW-GM 500 Ford 1 1 200/200 84,525 Running
7/17/94 MGD 500 Ford 10 9 199/200 24,460 Running
6/13/93 Champion 500 Pontiac 10 39 4/200 14,285 Engine
7/18/93 MGD 500 Pontiac 18 2 200/200 35,145 Running
6/14/92 Champion 500 Pontiac 10 24 185/200 13,250 Running
7/19/92 MGD 500 Pontiac 19 18 199/200 13,690 Running
6/16/91 Champion 500 Pontiac 9 31 115/200 4,775 Engine
7/21/91 MGD 500 Pontiac 10 1 179/179 34,100 Running
6/17/90 Miller 500 Pontiac 8 2 200/200 37,307 Running
7/22/90 AC 500 Pontiac 8 3 200/200 30,000 Running
6/18/89 Miller 500 Pontiac 1 22 194/200 16,825 Running
7/23/89 AC 500 Pontiac 6 2 200/200 46,875 Running
6/19/88 Miller 500 Pontiac 17 3 200/200 26,500 Running
7/24/88 Summer 500 Pontiac 11 24 189/200 11,175 Running
6/14/87 Miller 500 Pontiac 17 40 14/200 9,525 Engine
7/19/87 Summer 500 Pontiac 14 14 197/200 12,765 Running
6/8/86 Van Scoy 500 Pontiac 7 6 200/200 13,825 Running
7/20/86 Summer 500 Pontiac 11 27 133/150 8,925 Engine
6/9/85 Van Scoy 500 Pontiac 21 13 197/200 9,575 Running
7/21/85 Summer 500 Pontiac 13 33 112/200 4,795 Engine
6/10/84 Van Scoy 500 Pontiac 15 17 197/200 6,530 Running
7/22/84 Like Cola 500 Pontiac 12 6 200/200 10,625 Running
Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$
Pocono 500 21 1 3 6 3 $825,122
Pennsylvania 500 21 3 6 10 0 925,785
TOTAL 42 4 9 16 3 $1,750,907
Laps completion percentage: 7,106/8,304 = 85.6%

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE
2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF
Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/
Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment
2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight
Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other
217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught
Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash
2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car
Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes
2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong
Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow
3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight
Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged
3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap
Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks
4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90
Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire
4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?
Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear
4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty
Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd
4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then
Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned
5/1 Aaron’s 499 20 22 180/194 0/0 114,133 Running/66 car in the “big
Talladega, Ala. one,” repaired & returned
5/7 Dodge Charger 500 12 12 370/370 0/0 113,433 Running/78 car was tight,
Darlington, S.C. then extremely loose
5/14 Chevy American Rev. 400 8 19 399/400 0/0 98,705 Running/70 car tight, spun,
Richmond, Va. bad-handling all race
5/21 NEXTEL “All-Star” Race 3 13 71/90 0/0 84,800 Running/43 car caught in
Concord, N.C. 12 car’s spin last segment
5/29 Coca-Cola 600 20 10 400/400 1/15 144,958 Running/35 car fought
Concord, N.C. back from a lap down
6/5 MBNA RacePoints 400 11 5 400/400 0/0 140,183 Running/54 car fastest
Dover, Del. Twice, but tick too tight
# led most laps
2005 Season Recap: (points events)
Races Led/
Times Led/
Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information
13 0 2 6 0 3/6/219 7th /1,584/-328 to #48
Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 15.8
4,598/4,658 = 98.7% $ 1,907,169 Average Finish: 14.7
DNFs: 0
Career Brief:
Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won
683 55 196 338 36 $45,567,949

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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                       WALLACE WOULD LOVE TO WIN MBNA NASCAR 400 FOR MELVIN JOSEPH

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Rusty Wallace Developed Strong Friendship With Late Dover Speedway Official-

DOVER, Del. (May 31, 2005) – If Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace has his way, the car now known simply as PRS- 54 will carry a special moniker after the running of Sunday’s MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway.

“We’ve been thinking about it since Melvin passed away a couple of months back and we think there’s no better tribute we can pay to such a wonderful guy than to win the race and name our car after him,” Wallace said of Melvin Joseph, a  board member and Vice President and Director of Auto Racing at Dover International Speedway, who died suddenly on April 6.

“I was very fortunate to really get to know Melvin well during the last 10 years and would love to honor him this way.” The 83-year-old Joseph had been active in the NASCAR community for some 50 years, first as a car owner and then in his involvement with the one-mile high-banked Dover, Del., racing facility. He is credited with being a leader in the design and construction of the track that held its first NASCAR race in 1969.

In 1955, Joseph’s cars won both the NASCAR Sportsman and Modified Events on the sands of Daytona Beach, FL. In 1959, his car, driven by Banjo Matthews, won the race by an amazing 3 miles in the first NASCAR Modified race on the newly built Daytona International  Speedway. Another racing highlight included owning one of the cars that Bobby Allison drove to many victories.

Joseph was the founder, owner and operator of Melvin L. Joseph Construction Co., Inc. since 1940 and M.L. Joseph Sand and Gravel, founded in 1990. He oversaw the 1994 repaving project at Dover International Speedway that transformed the asphalt surface into the current concrete layout. His ideas, innovations and dedication greatly contributed to the success of Dover Motorsports, Inc. His many accomplishments in the sport of auto racing led to his induction into the Delaware Sports Museum Hall of Fame in 2002.

“How Melvin and I became big buddies really came down to the time that the track was considering what to do with their resurfacing project,” said Wallace, who’ll be making his 43rd career Dover start in Sunday’s 400-mile battle. “We won the fall race back in ’93 and both races in ’94. We were down at the Rusty Rudder (popular restaurant) in Dewey Beach before that fall race in ’94 doing a special appearance for Miller Brewing. It turned out that Melvin was great friends with Jay Prettyman, the owner of the place back then.

“We had gotten through with our autograph session on the water side of the place and had come back in to have some dinner before we headed back to Dover for the night,” Wallace recalled. “Little did I know it at the time, but they sat our group at a table right beside Melvin and the folks he was entertaining there that night. I had seen Melvin for years at the track, but really didn’t know him all that well. I could remember him being there by the stage for all the pre-race stuff, the driver introductions and all. I remembered that he was the guy who always gave the command to start our engines at every Dover race that I could remember. I also knew that he was a really good friend of Bobby Allison. Everybody knows what I think of B.A.  – I’ve always called him my hero – so I knew if Melvin was a big friend of his, he certainly needed to be a good friend of mine.

“Anyhow, it must have been Jay or one of the guys there who officially introduced us and the next thing I knew, Melvin and I were sitting together by ourselves over at another table talking about what they should do with their resurfacing deal at the Dover track,” continued Wallace. “As it turned out, things were pretty much up in the air at that time. My old buddy (Dale) Earnhardt had really been doing some heavy politicking in trying to get them to use asphalt again. He was pushing hard for that.

Melvin was aware of what they’d done at Bristol with the concrete and he knew how much I liked that new surface. He knew that however much Dale had lobbied for the asphalt, ‘ol Rusty was gonna’ give him an earful of the benefits of using  the concrete.

“Right there that night, Melvin and I became really great friends. He used me as a sounding board for their resurfacing of the Dover track. Then, when the Dover group bought the land outside of Nashville and started making plans for their new track there, he kept me up to date with that entire project.

“Melvin would always come to Daytona during Speed Weeks and I’d always save him a parking space for his car right out there beside my coach,” Wallace continued. “I’ll never forget, just a few years back, when Melvin pulled into the coach lot in Daytona and said he had something that he just had to show me. We went into my coach and he unfolded all the plans for the new Nashville track. I mean this was way before anything was released about the details of the new track. He sat there and laid the whole deal out and I’ll never forget him boasting about the new track being different from anything out there.

“He said, ‘Rusty, this thing is gonna’ be a mile-and-a-third – state of the art – something even you’d be impressed with. Yeah, and it’ll definitely be concrete, not asphalt.’

“Melvin was a really cool guy and, like I said, I was so fortunate to get to know him like I did,” Wallace concluded. “He’ll certainly be missed around the racing circles and it’ll really be strange being at Dover for the first time this weekend without him there. Rest assured that we’ll be out there racin’ our tail ends off, trying to win this one for Melvin.”

Even though Wallace has yet to win with his PRS-054 Miller Lite Dodge, the car has certainly shown the potential to take him to Victory Lane in Sunday’s race. The chassis was last raced at Homestead during the final race of 2004 where Wallace started 10th and finished eighth. It has been the workhorse on the intermediate tracks for the last two seasons.

“We’ve had a lot of great runs with this car,” said Wallace. “But the truth be known, the fact is that the guys havecompletely torn it down since Homestead last November. It’s been completely rebuilt as a 2005 Dodge Charger and is virtually a brand new racecar. The rolling chassis remains the same, but the body and everything else from the ground up  is all brand new.”

Wallace’s career record on the “Monster Mile” boasts three wins, 10 top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes and five pole positions (leads all active drivers) in 42 races. This weekend’s Dover schedule calls for two hours of practice on Friday beginning at 11:00 a.m., leading up to the 3:10 p.m. single round of qualifying that allocates all 43 starting spots for Sunday’s race. Saturday’s final “Happy Hour” practice session is scheduled to start at 11:10 a.m.Sunday’s MBNA RacePoints 400 is scheduled for a 1:35 p.m. EDT start and features live coverage by FX-TV and MRN Radio.

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records- DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (1.0 mile)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

6/6/04 MBNA Salute to Heroes 400 Dodge 4 13 398/400 $114,578 Running

9/24/04 MBNA America 400 Dodge 7 13 398/400 105,348 Running

6/1/03 MBNA Family 400 Dodge 2 6 400/400 110

,097 Running

9/21/03 MBNA American 400 Dodge 14 10 400/400 98,707 Running

6/2/02 MBNA Platinum 400 Ford 21 17 400/400 96,625 Running

9/22/02 MBNA All-American 400 Ford 1 15 399/400 98,790 Running

6/3/01 MBNA Platinum 400 Ford 3 21 397/400 90,450 Running

9/23/01 MBNA.com 400 Ford 15 11 400/400 92,305 Running

6/4/00 MBNA Platinum 400 Ford 1 `14 398/400 70,360 Running

9/24/00 MBNA.com 400 Ford 4 8 400/400 67,590 Running

6/6/99 MBNA Platinum 400 Ford 8 6 399/400 56,830 Running

9/26/99 MBNA Gold 400 Ford 1 32 385/400 49,655 Running

5/31/98 MBNA Platinum 400 Ford 1 18 397/400 39,680 Running

9/20/98 MBNA Gold 400 Ford 2 5 400/400 40,370 Running

6/1/97 Miller 500 Ford 18 39 316/500 32,485 Engine

9/21/97 MBNA 400 Ford 22 16 395/400 31,590 Running

6/2/96 Miller 500 Ford 8 7 499/500 33,365 Running

9/15/96 MBNA 500 Ford 6 2 500/500 54,580 Running

6/4/95 Miller Genuine Draft 500 Ford 16 9 499/500 31,490 Running

9/17/95 NMBA 500 Ford 7 3 500/500 46,905 Running

6/5/94 Budweiser 500 Ford 6 1 500/500 70,605 Running

9/18/94 SplitFire 500 Ford 10 1 500/500 55,055 Running

6/6/93 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 4 21 425/500 17,450 Crash

9/19/93 SplitFire 500 Pontiac 1 1 500/500 77,645 Running

5/31/92 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 14 3 499/500 25,795 Running

9/2/92 Peak 500 Pontiac 3 17 483/500 13,730 Running

6/2/91 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 2 9 498/500 9,950 Running

9/15/91 Peak 500 Pontiac 7 25 322/500 5,025 Accident

6/3/90 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 5 10 500/500 19,825 Running

9/16/90 Peak 500 Pontiac 9 7 499/500 18,175 Running

6/4/89 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 3 5 500/500 20,975 Running

9/17/89 Peak 500 Pontiac 4 7 497/500 16,475 Running

6/5/88 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 11 3 500/500 26,350 Running

9/18/88 Delaware 500 Pontiac 5 3 500/500 26,200 Running

5/31/87 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 19 17 481/500 10,150 Running

9/20/87 Delaware 500 Pontiac 20 12 495/500 10,900 Running

5/18/86 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 19 26 242/500 8,400 Engine

9/14/86 Delaware 500 Pontiac 8 13 491/500 9,350 Running

5/19/85 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 10 18 431/500 6,255 Running

9/15/85 Delaware 500 Pontiac 21 31 137/500 4,385 Engine

5/20/84 Budweiser 500 Pontiac 14 11 495/500 6,085 Running

9/16/84 Delaware 500 Pontiac 14 30 273/500 3,170 Accident

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

MBNA Salute To Heroes 400 21 1 4 10 2 $897,800

NMBA America 400 21 2 6 10 3 925,950

TOTAL 42 3 10 20 5 $1,823,750

Lap completion percentage: 17,048/19,500 = 87.4 percent

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE

2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/

Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight

Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught

Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car

Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong

Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight

Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged

3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap

Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks

4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90

Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire

4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?

Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear

4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty

Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd

4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then

Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned

5/1 Aaron’s 499 20 22 180/194 0/0 114,133 Running/66 car in the “big

Talladega, Ala. one,” repaired & returned

5/7 Dodge Charger 500 12 12 370/370 0/0 113,433 Running/78 car was tight,

Darlington, S.C. then extremely loose

5/14 Chevy American Rev. 400 8 19 399/400 0/0 98,705 Running/70 car tight, spun,

Richmond, Va. bad-handling all race

5/21 NEXTEL “All-Star” Race 3 13 71/90 0/0 84,800 Running/43 car caught in

Concord, N.C. 12 car’s spin last segment

5/29 Coca-Cola 600 20 10 400/400 1/15 144,958 Running/35 car fought

Concord, N.C. back from a lap down

# led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

12 0 1 5 0 3/6/219 11th /1,429/-318 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 16.2

4,198/4,258 = 98.6% $ 1,766,986 Average Finish: 15.5

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

682 55 195 337 36 $45,427,766

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

NEWS ADVISORY

               RUSTY WALLACE 500 NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES ENTERS LAST WEEK FOR ENTRIES

NASCAR Fans Have Only Until May 31, 2005 to Win Big From Miller Lite

WHAT: Less than one week remains for racing fans to enter Miller Lite’s “Rusty Wallace 500” national sweepstakes, offering legal-drinking-age consumers the chance to win the Ultimate Rusty Wallace weekend – a trip to Charlotte for a race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a behind the scenes tour of Penske Racing and the much anticipated Miller Lite “Rusty Wallace 500” concert event. Other major prizes include an all-new 2006 Dodge Charger and a Kawasaki Jet Ski.

WHEN: Registration is open through May 31, 2005.

Consumers 21 and older can register to win at www.millerbeer.com

WHY: The sweepstakes is just one part of the Miller Lite “Rusty Wallace’s Last Call” tour, a season-long celebration of Wallace’s final run as the driver of the Miller Lite #2 Dodge in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The tour kicked off in February during Speedweek in Daytona, Florida, and will include stops in Philadelphia, Nashville and Tampa.  “It’s been a great 15 years for Miller Lite and Rusty, and we want to give racing fans a chance to share in the celebration,” said Michael Hand, Miller Lite’s senior promotions manager. “Rusty’s ‘Last Call,’ along with the ‘Rusty Wallace 500’ sweepstakes, is Miller Lite’s toast to one of the legends of NASCAR.”

The season-long tour also includes Miller Lite “Rock and Racing” events, trackside public concerts by such major rock and country acts as the Black Crowes, Montgomery Gentry and Cheap Trick. A recent event in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring the Black Crowes, drew approximately 12,000 fans during the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge weekend. CONTACT: Luis Hernandez, Dig Communications at 312-577-1756 lhernandez@digcommunications.com

No purchase necessary to enter. Sweepstakes ends May 31, 2005. Open to legal residents of the United States and Washington, DC (except residents of California), age 21 and older at time of entry. For details view Official Rules and Sweepstakes Facts. Void in California and where prohibited by law.

# # #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

WALLACE RECALLS ‘89 ALL-STAR RACE AS CAREER’S “DEFINING MOMENT”

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Has Participated In 18 Of The 20 All-Star Races To Date-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 17, 2005) – Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace has participated in 18 of the 20 editions of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge race. This weekend’s schedule calls for the 21st running of the highly- anticipated annual “no-holds-barred” racing extravaganza at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and will mark Wallace’s final appearance in the event. To date, his record sports one win, five top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and $987,154 in money won. He has started from the first starting spot on three occasions, including last year’s race.

All records aside, Wallace counts his win in the 1989 All-Star race – or rather how he won it and the controversial aftermath – as perhaps the most notable single event of his illustrious 22-year career as a driver in stock car racing’s most prestigious series.

“Regardless of all the wins, top-fives and top-10s, the poles and the money, that win in the 1989 All-Star race at Charlotte – the circumstances and all – it was probably the single most monumental event in my career,” said Wallace, who went on to claim that season’s points title, also. “One thing is for sure and that’s the fact that it was the most defining moment for  me as a driver.

“I mean until then, I was pretty much still an unknown – just one of the younger drivers who sort of blended into the crowd,” Wallace continued. “There wasn’t a whole heckuva’ lot of people who knew that much about me back then. I was just a short-track hot shot who’d grown up through the ranks, paid my dues and was starting to win races in the big league and be a factor in the points deal.

“We had Kodiak as a sponsor back then. They were a smokeless tobacco company and they did very little – really none at all – promotion with me and the team. They just more or less sent in their sponsorship check and said, ‘here, just paint our logos on the sides and hood of the car and have at it.’ Don’t get me wrong – they were great folks to us and we certainly appreciated their support – but they just didn’t use the driver and the team in promotional work like all the sponsors do today.

“Just about everything I’d done up until that incident with D.W. (Darrell Waltrip) in that race had gone pretty much unnoticed by what you’d label the mainstream media. I mean, yeah the sports reporters and the racing papers – they all had covered the three wins we’d already had that season. They were already looking at us as serious championshipcontenders and a lot of that had to do with coming so close to winning it the year before, when (Bill) Elliott beat us by just a few points (lost title by 24 points).

“When I got into D.W. there coming down for the white flag and then went on to win the race, it changed everything,” said Wallace.

A quick look back at the details of the 1989 All-Star race: Wallace started his Kodiak Pontiac in the third starting spot. He appeared to have the car to beat from the drop of the green flag in the first segment. He stormed on to win the firstsegment handily.

Wallace’s car experienced loose handling conditions in the second segment, allowing Waltrip to blow by and claim the second segment, setting up a showdown in the third and final segment.

After determining that they had reversed the mounting of tires during the second segment – his team had put the right front on the right rear and the right rear tire on the right front – Wallace and crew knew why they had handling woes in the second segment. They adjusted accordingly and were ready for the final scamper to the finish. As the pair raced to the white flag, Wallace stuck the nose of his Pontiac under Waltrip’s Chevrolet as they exited the fourth turn. Contact was made between Wallace’s right-front andWaltrip’s left-rear-quarter-panel, sending Waltrip’s car into what is still referred to as the “Tide Slide,” designated so due to Waltrip’s car sponsor at the time.

“It was an ugly, ugly win,” Waltrip chirped. “I hope he chokes on the $200,000, that’s all I can tell him. He knocked the hell out of me.”

“We just ran out of room,” Wallace replied. “I got under him and we touched. I backed out of the throttle and he spun. I didn’t intentionally hit him.”

Waltrip, however, wasn’t finished talking. “A lot of guys let greed overcome speed, and that’s what happened today,” he said. “I got spun out. A guy drove down underneath me and drove up into me and spun me out. It was blatant. I had him pretty well covered. I just didn’t want to make a mistake, but I guess I made one, letting him get up there.”

“It was the turning point of my career – and Darrell’s, too,” said Wallace. “I don’t think there has ever been in the history of our sport, a situation where in a split second the roles are reversed like that – totally reversed. Darrell became the hero there in that race and I became the villain. D.W. didn’t have the greatest fan appeal back then – he was a driver who the fans either loved or hated – it was just that simple. Well, that day he became the good guy and that image lasted with him all the way until he hung the helmet up. He always got cheered from that day forward. And as loud as they were cheering for him, they were booing me even louder, it seemed. Man, it really did start the fireworks for my career.

“I was still a young guy on the way up,” continued Wallace. “I was just a pretty noncontroversial guy who’d come from the short tracks and was on his way up the ladder in the big league. Not only did I become a marked man and our teams get in fights and all, it carriedover into my personal life, too. We got threats – it was some serious stuff that came down after that one.

“I’ll never forget having my daughter Katie, who was only about five years old at the time, ask me, ‘Daddy, why are there policemen with guns sitting outside our front door?’ We actually had to have bodyguards and extra security around the clock for me and my family. It was just that heavy of a scene after that race. It definitely put my name and face on the map and I got booed for years to come after that one. I’m just so grateful that I was finally able to get back in the good graces with all the fans and have them all know that I really am a good guy.

“I’ll always remember the aftermath of that race, with Darrell telling me to choke on the 200 grand, Todd Parrott and some of my team punching it out with Darrell’s team on pit road and getting suspended and all hell just about breaking out. It was something they talked about for years to come and John Boy and Billy (popular syndicated radio show hosts) even made up a song about that day. After winning the championship that season and pledging to be the best champion that I could, the fans still were booing the heck out of me. Even after living up to my promise, the fans continued to boo me. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t untilabout ’93 that we got it all turned around and got back in good graces with the fans.” Friday’s 7:10 p.m. qualifying session calls for drivers to make three laps and include a four-tire pit stop in determining the starting field for Saturday night’s race. The 21st annual “All-Star” race – ran in segments of 40, 30 and 20 laps -- carries live coverage by FX-TV and PRN Radio beginning with coverage of the preliminary events at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

-Rusty Wallace Career Records-

"NEXTEL ALL STAR CHALLENGE"

Date Location Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

5/22/04 Lowe’s Dodge 1 9 90/90 $126,400 Running

5/17/03 Lowe’s Dodge 18 21 40/90* 65,504 Running

5/18/02 Lowe’s Ford 21 27 14/90 40,000 Accident

5/19/01 Lowe’s Ford 1 15 70/70 78,800 Running

5/20/00 Lowe’s Ford 4 7 70/70 25,000 Running

5/22/99 Charlotte Ford 4 17 11/70 18,000 Accident

5/16/98 Charlotte Ford 16 5 70/70 27,700 Running

5/17/97 Charlotte Ford 7 18 62/70 18,000 Engine

5/18/96 Charlotte Ford 15 2 70/70 87,500 Running

5/21/95 Charlotte Ford 2 4 70/70 40,000 Running

5/21/94 Charlotte Ford 1 19 49/70 68,000 Accident

5/22/93 Charlotte Pontiac 2 8 70/70 39,000 Running

5/16/92 Charlotte Pontiac 2 6 70/70 42,500 Running

5/19/91 Charlotte Pontiac 10 7 70/70 23,500 Running

5/20/90 Charlotte Pontiac 14 20 8/70 18,000 Engine

5/21/89 Charlotte Pontiac 3 1 135/135 240,000 Running

5/22/88 Charlotte Pontiac 10 13 124/135 10,250 Running

5/17/87 Charlotte Pontiac 7 5 135/135 19,000 Running

* failed to make cut for final segments.

TOTALS: 18 Starts 1 Win 5 top-5s 10 top-10s 1,228/1,515 = 81.1% of possible laps $987,154 in money won.

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE

2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/

Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight

Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught

Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car

Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong

Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight

Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged

3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap

Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks

4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90

Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire

4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?

Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear

4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty

Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd

4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then

Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned

5/1 Aaron’s 499 20 22 180/194 0/0 114,133 Running/66 car in the “big

Talladega, Ala. one,” repaired & returned

5/7 Dodge Charger 500 12 12 370/370 0/0 113,433 Running/78 car was tight,

Darlington, S.C. then extremely loose

5/14 Chevy American Rev. 400 8 19 399/400 0/0 98,705 Running/70 car tight, spun,

Richmond, Va. bad-handling all race

# led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

11 0 1 4 0 2/5/204 12th /1,290/-272 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 15.8

3,798/3,858 = 98.4% $ 1,537,228 Average Finish: 16.0

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

681 55 195 336 36 $45,198,008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ray Cooper

Richmond International Raceway

Clear!Blue

Dodge Notes, Quotes.

704-975-3232

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON RIR "When the track was originally designed by the Sawyer family the first time I raced on it I thought they had done an incredible job. After six wins you've got to love the place. When you drive this racetrack you'll find today that when the drivers start out they'll start running on the bottom of the racetrack and all of a sudden they'll move up to the second lane and down in turns three and four they'll move up to the very top lane. You'll notice they'll be running side by side through turns three and four and later on through turns one and two and maneuvering all over the racetrack. You'll get up top and get a lot of bite and feel like you've gained 200 horsepower coming on the straight a ways when you do that. There are so many places to race on the racetrack and so many places to maneuver around. The night race with all the drama and all the cameras and lights, the whole intensity of this race is sky high. I stayed here last night and watched the Busch race. It's very colorful and very exciting. They were racing all over the place. I saw the groove start moving up early in three and four and I knew it was going to be a great race. The drivers were using the whole racetrack. I said that a long time ago. I said it was a perfec trace track. It's the perfect design, the length of the track. There have been a lot of studies and all the fans say why do they keep building super super speedways, a mile and a half, two miles, stuff like that when everybody's favorite racetracks have always been Bristol and Richmond. Bristol is one of a kind. It's super high- banked and I don't know if anyone could ever build something like that again that would turn out to be that great again. Bu there, it's amazing. It's a fun place to race. I look forward to coming here. I look so forward to it that I came here and tested a week and a half ago. I want to be really, really good here, and I think we've got a great car for tonight's race. I plan on using that whole racetrack to get the job done."

COMMENT ON IOWA TRACK "I've been hired to design a new racetrack up in Newton, Iowa, and I've done a lot of work on it. The people that designed the California Speedway and Kansas City Motor Speedway, I worked with them closely and we're done with it. We're done with the design. I think that track is going to be a perfect track also. It's very close to this track. It's seven-eighths of a mile. I didn't want to touch the mile length. We backed it up to seven-eighths. I'm hoping to announce the groundbreaking in three weeks. That's what we're shooting for, but it's a great track also. We'll talk about that later. Right now it's Richmond's time to shine, and I feel really good about this race tonight and the way this place is going to race."

TALK ABOUT THE FULL CONTACT RACING AT RIR "I watched the race in detail last night, and coming up off turn four if you get a good bite off turn four you can pass the guy down the straightaway. You can run side by side. When you get  down into turn one it's like, 'man, I've got to hold on to this baby. I just can't fly in there.' It's kind of give and take. Then you get up off turn two and the racetrack falls out pretty quick on you. The racetrack gets flat and everybody gets loose and that thing happens again. The easy part of this racetrack is the entry into turn   three. It's got banks and it carries you. You can pass up off turn two.

You can pass up off turn four. You can drive in on their bumper going into turn three and work the top lane. There's a lot of things you can do. It's a full contact track, no doubt about that, as long as you don't have too much contact and knock them fenders in and lose that down force. Then you have a problem."

ANY POSSIBILITY OF AFFLIATION WITH TOYOTA FOR PENSKE RACING SOUTH?

"Nothing with Toyota at Penske Racing South. People would think that would be a natural because he's running Toyota in the IRL Series, and he's the largest Toyota dealer, but he's also one of the world's largest DaimlerChrysler dealers.We've got a great arrangement now with Dodge. We've got a contract with them and feel good about it. I welcome all the other carmanufacturers in. I haven't personally talked with Toyota about my own Busch Grand National team at all. I haven't had any conversation. Although my eyes are wide open and I'm listening to whateverybody's doing out there. I'm paying a lot of attention to it, but nothing's happened yet. I don't plan it at all. I don't see Toyotacoming to Penske Racing South. I  don't see that happening."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

RUSTY WALLACE “READY TO MAKE BIG THINGS HAPPEN” AT RICHMOND

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Cites “Unbelievable Test” For Ultimate Confidence Entering Saturday’s Race-

RICHMOND, Va. (May 10, 2005) – Competitors beware: Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace ended his scheduled two-day test at Richmond International Raceway last week after the first day.

“It was an unbelievable test, just super all the way around,” Wallace said of last Tuesday’s (May 3) visit to the .750-mile track in preparation of Saturday night’s Chevy American Revolution 400. “We got the thing really hauling the mail and handling like a dream. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t think of a single thing else that we could do to make it handle any  better or run any faster.

“We were so good out there that we decided to pack it up after the first day and not even use Wednesday on the track,” said Wallace, the active statistical leader at R.I.R. “We wanted to make sure that we didn’t come back and out-engineer ourselves like we may have done in the past.”

Wallace’s move to cut short his available track time should come as a surprise to most garage area insiders along the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. After all, the 1989 series champ and 55-race winner is well known for his using every minute of practice available and then even lobbying for additional time on the track.

“It says a lot about how confident Rusty is going into Richmond this time around,” explained car chief Jeff Thousand, whose tenure by Wallace’s side at race tracks dates back to the American Speed Association days. “It’s highly unusual to see Rusty not use all the practice he can get. I’ll never forget how he used to always get Robin (Pemberton, former crew chief for Wallace’s team and now NASCAR’s V.P. of Competition.) to go down to the NASCAR trailer and beg them to give us more practice. But in last week’s test at Richmond, we were so strong and he was so happy with the car that we knew we were doing the right thing.

“I’ve been here with Rusty for a long time and even I was impressed with how strong we were in both qualifying and race trim,” Thousand continued. “When we have such a great test at one of his favorite tracks, Rusty usually comes in full throttle for the entire weekend. I think you can count on Rusty being a major factor in qualifying and in the race this weekend at Richmond.”

Wallace offered some specific details of the Richmond test which understandably could lead to his lofty confidence level entering this weekend’s action.

“We unloaded off the track pretty fast, but after tweaking on her a little, she was absolutely flying and handling like a dream, said the six-time race winner and three-time pole winner at Richmond. “We concentrated mostly on the race setup, since this is another impound race (no additional practice after qualifying is concluded and only minor changes allowed prior to the race). “We made a lot of runs and ran as many as 30 laps at a time. We  got her down to where she was running pretty consistent 21.20s (laps of 21.20 seconds, averaging 127.358 mph) in race trim and then switched  over to qualifying trim.

“We put the qualifying setup under her and were hauling the freight from the get-go,” offered Wallace, whose Richmond record also boasts 21 top-five finishes and 29 top-10s in 42 races. “We got her down to a 20.92 (lap of 20.92 seconds/129.063 mph) and that’s a little faster than (Ryan) Newman’s 20.97 (20.979 seconds/128.700 mph) that won the pole for the last race there.

“We know we have a great race car – it’s the Martinsville car,” Wallace said of his PRS- 070 Miller Lite Dodge Charger. “It was the exact same chassis we used in winning the spring race at Martinsville last year. It was completely rebuilt for the race last month there. In that race, we started fourth and led a bunch of laps. We had a great shot at winning that one before we got slapped with a speeding penalty coming off of pit road. We had to start from the rear and still came back on up through the pack to finish fifth. “As strong as this car was at Martinsville, I’ll be surprised if it isn’t at least as strong – ifnot even stronger – at Richmond this weekend,” Wallace concluded. Wallace’s Richmond racing history is most impressive. As the track’s career statistical leader, the record book shows that in 42 races, he has six wins and three poles, along with 21 top-five finishes, 29 top-10 finishes and $1,851,490 in career money won. His most recent Richmond win came in the spring race of 1997, while his most recent pole came in the spring race of 2000.

He has led 3,023 laps at Richmond International Raceway, almost four times as many as any other active driver. Jeff Burton is second among active drivers with 874 laps led. Richmond NASCAR NEXTEL Cup activity begins on Friday withpractice scheduled from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. The 6:10 p.m. single round of qualifying will determine all 43 starting positions for Saturday’s 400-lap, 300-mile battle. Saturday’s Chevy AmericanRevolution 400 has a scheduled 7:35 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FX-TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE 2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/

Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight

Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught

Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car

Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong

Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight

Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged

3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap

Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks

4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90

Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire

4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?

Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear

4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty

Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd

4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then

Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned

5/1 Aaron’s 499 20 22 180/194 0/0 114,133 Running/66 car in the “big

Talladega, Ala. one,” repaired & returned

5/7 Dodge Charger 500 12 12 370/370 0/0 113,433 Running/78 car was tight,

Darlington, S.C. then extremely loose

# led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

10 0 1 4 0 2/5/204 14th /1,184/-335 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 16.6

3,399/3,458 = 98.3% $ 1,438,523 Average Finish: 15.7

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

680 55 195 336 36 $45,099,303

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-

RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

(.750-mile)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

5/15/04 Chevy American 400 Dodge 7 16 399/400 $102,983 Running

9/11/04 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Dodge 12 10 400/400 105,863 Running

5/3/03 Pontiac 400 Dodge 17 10 392/392 91,942 Running

9/6/03 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Dodge 17 5 400/400 99,047 Running

5/5/02 Pontiac 400 Ford 9 25 396/400 85,000 Running

9/7/02 Monte Carlo 400 Ford 23 15 399/400 87,755 Running

5/5/01 Pontiac 400 Ford 2 3 400/400 117,740 Running

9/8/01 Monte Carlo 400 Ford 2 5 400/400 100,895 Running

5/6/00 Pontiac 400 Ford 1 5 400/400 68,625 Running

9/9/00 Monte Carlo 400 Ford 5 34 313/400 42,110 Engine

5/15/99 Pontiac 400 Ford 6 5 400/400 49,450 Running

9/11/99 Exide 400 Ford 3 14 399/400 41,130 Running

6/6/98 Pontiac 400 Ford 22 3 400/400 56,875 Running

9/12/98 Exide 400 Ford 1 7 400/400 45,630 Running

3/2/97 Pontiac 400 Ford 7 1 400/400 86,775 Running

9/6/97 Exide 400 Ford 14 5 400/400 39,050 Running

3/3/96 Pontiac 400 Ford 14 7 400/400 28,375 Running

9/7/96 Miller 400 Ford 10 6 400/400 30,005 Running

3/5/95 Pontiac 400 Ford 3 3 400/400 29,600 Running

9/9/95 MGD 400 Ford 7 1 400/400 64,515 Running

3/6/94 Pontiac 400 Ford 12 2 400/400 39,575 Running

9/10/94 MGD 400 Ford 5 4 400/400 30,780 Running

3/7/93 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 13 2 400/400 31,550 Running

9/11/93 MGD 400 Pontiac 3 1 400/400 49,415 Running

3/8/92 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 12 17 396/400 12,425 Running

9/12/92 MGD 400 Pontiac 3 1 400/400 47,115 Running

2/24/91 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 20 4 400/400 13,050 Running

9/7/91 MGD 400 Pontiac 1 3 400/400 21,700 Running

2/25/90 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 18 6 400/400 15,400 Running

9/9/90 Miller 400 Pontiac 11 5 400/400 19,525 Running

3/26/89 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 2 1 400/400 63,025 Running

9/10/89 Miller 400 Pontiac 6 1 400/400 55,650 Running

2/21/88 Pontiac 400 Pontiac 4 7 400/400 11,790 Running

9/11/88 Miller 400 Pontiac 21 35 18/400 9,650 Accident

3/8/87 Miller 400 Pontiac 12 3 400/400 18,225 Running

9/13/87 Wrangler 400 Pontiac 9 17 373/400 8,155 Accident

2/23/86 Miller 400 Pontiac 6 10 395/400 6,530 Running

9/7/86 Wrangler 400 Pontiac 6 19 371/400 6,960 Running

2/24/85 Miller 400 Pontiac 6 27 89/400 3,755 Accident

9/8/85 Wrangler 400 Pontiac 11 13 397/400 5,495 Running

2/26/84 Miller 400 Pontiac 5 16 396/400 4,025 Running

9/9/84 Wrangler 400 Pontiac 6 11 397/400 4,580 Running

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

Chevy American 400 21 2 11 16 1 $936,715

Chevy Rock & Roll 400 21 4 10 13 2 915,025

TOTAL 42 6 21 29 3 $1,851,490

Lap completion percentage: 15,991/16,793 = 95.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WALLACE HOPES NIGHTTIME IS “RIGHT TIME” AT DARLINGTON

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Hoping To Taste Victory In 43rd – And Final – Race At Historical Track-

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 3, 2005) – Extraordinary things seem to happen after the sun goes down along the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace is  hoping it is under that scenario this weekend that he can finally defeat the demanding old Darlington Raceway.

Wallace has competed at the historical South Carolina track 41 additional times since he first raced there in NASCAR’s premier series competition on April 15, 1984. Now 21 taxing seasons later in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series on this demanding 1.366-mile egg-shaped track, Wallace is still chasing that first elusive Darlington win. He thinks his break through win at the “Track Too Tough To Tame” could come in Saturday night’s Dodge Charger 500. The 1989 series champ and 55-race winner is committed to making sure his final “Last Call” season as a driver is a memorable one. Saturday night’s race will mark his 43rd – and final – Darlington race behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge.

“I know it may sound pretty odd coming out of my mouth, but I am really looking forward to Saturday’s race at Darlington,” said Wallace, currently 13th in the series point standings after nine races, but only 31 points out of sixth and a mere 10 points out of 10th. “I think everyone out there knows how much I love the night races. The fact that this is the last time I’ll race at Darlington and with the race being run in the nighttime, all the emotions will be running high.

“We have a great car ready to go for Darlington,” Wallace said of his PRS-078 Dodge Charger. “We’re racing the same car that we debuted at Bristol last fall. We led a bunch of that race and had a great shot at winning the race before we ran out of gas. We got way  behind and got caught up in a crash after that. We brought it back out at Atlanta earlier this year, but got caught up in someone else’s mess right at the start of the race. The guys have run it back through the shop since then and it’s like a brand new car we’ll have there this weekend. At the end of this one, there’s nothing I’d like more than to be able to wheel that baby right on into Victory Lane and let the big celebration begin.

“We’ve been running at Darlington forever it seems and even I am floored that we still haven’t won there,” said Wallace, whose Darlington career record sports 11 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 finishes. “There is a first time for everything I’ve always believed. Through the years, I’ve really enjoyed racing there and we’ve come close to winning at Darlington in  several races. We’ve finished second there twice and have a ton of thirds, fourths and fifths.”  Wallace looks for the old and weatherworn surface at Darlington to offer something different this weekend than what has occurred so far this season.

“It’s a track where you slide all over the place because the surface really wears the tires real bad, but it’s also a track where you can make a lot of passes,” said Wallace. “The aero push doesn’t come into effect much there. I think you saw really good racing at Rockingham when we were still running there. You see really good racing at Darlington because the track wears the tires so bad and all that grip goes away, and the guys get sliding around andchasing and the racing comes back like it used to be. When you think about all of that and then add the fact that we’ll be racing under the lights, you’d have to be comatose to not get excited about Darlington this Saturday night.”

Larry Carter, crew chief for Wallace’s Miller Lite Dodge effort, thinks the atmosphere will definitely work to his driver’s favor.

“It’ll be a case of Darlington at dark and you know what that means,” Carter said as he started to grin. “Rusty will be up on that wheel just like he is at Bristol and at Richmond. We were talking the other day and I think it has really registered with him that this is his last chance to beat that old track. I’ll guarantee you that if desire has anything to do with it, we’llbe right there battling for that checkered flag at the end of this one.”

This weekend’s Darlington NASCAR NEXTEL Cup action kicks off on Thursday with practice sessions from 5:10 p.m. until 6:10 p.m. and from 7:15 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Friday’s 5:10 p.m. qualifying session will establish the starting grid for Saturday’s 367-lap, 501.3-mile battle, with all cars impounded at the conclusion of qualifying. Saturday’s Dodge Charger 500NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway is set to begin at 7:10 p.m. EDT time and  features live coverage by FOX TV and MRN Radio.

* * *

NOTES: Rusty Wallace & team testing Tuesday & Wednesday of this week (May 3 & 4) at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the May 14 Chevy American Revolution 400 on that three quarter- mile layout…..Hard to believe, but Sunday’s 22nd-place finish at Talladega was his best since the fall race of ’03 at Talladega. That’s especially interesting, considering that he was on the lead lap and completed all possible laps in both races there last season (leading to a 33rd in the spring race and a 26th in the fall event). “Yeah, and they made it a point to tell me that it was my best finish as crew  chief for Rusty Wallace at Talladega,” chuckled crew chief Larry Carter on Monday after noon at the sprawling Penske Racing South complex near Mooresville, N.C. “It’s a credit to our team, though, when you look back at what happened and the big picture side to it. After we crashed and finally got the car back to the garage, we were under the red flag and couldn’t touch it. While we were under the red, we got a full plan together to get the thing repaired and back out on the track. When it went back to yellow, we executed that plan and had Rusty back out therebefore any of the others. That paid off big time. Just like I told ‘em all yesterday, if you’d told me that we’d be able to finish 22nd right after the crash happened, I’d told you that you needed serious mental help. What we wound up being able  to pull off down there was damage control to the max.”

# # #

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE 2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/ Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss.

Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment 2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other 217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash 2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes 2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow 3/13 UAW-Daimler Chrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged 3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks 4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire  4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding? Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear 4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd 4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned 5/1 Aaron’s 499 20 22 180/194 0/0 114,133 Running/66 car in the “big Talladega, Ala. one,” repaired & returned # led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events) Races Led/ Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

9 0 1 4 0 2/5/204 13th /1,057/-311 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 17.1

3,029/3,088 = 98.1% $ 1,325,090 Average Finish: 16.1

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

679 55 195 336 36 $44,985,870

DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Rusty Wallace Career Track Records

(1.366 miles)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

3/21/04 Carolina Dodge 400 Dodge 7 29 290/293 $85,588 Running

11/14/04 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Dodge 16 18 365/367 106,058 Running

3/16/03 Carolina Dodge 400 Dodge 13 16 291/293 83,827 Running

9/31/03 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Dodge 34 36 258/367 85,172 Running

3/17/02 Carolina Dodge 400 Ford 18 7 293/293 88,520 Running

9/1/02 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 6 22 367/367 90,245 Running

3/18/01 Carolina Dodge 400 Ford 9 10 293/293 81,170 Running

9/2/01 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 4 22 366/367 84,135 Running

3/19/00 MALL.com 400 Ford 20 16 292/293 45,685 Running

9/3/00 Pepsi Southern 500 Ford 16 30 308/328 48,940 Running

3/21/99 TranSouth 400 Ford 26 33 162/164 36,345 Running

9/5/99 Pepsi Southern 500 Ford 24 8 270/270 49,925 Running

3/22/98 TranSouth 400 Ford 14 3 293/293 52,240 Running

9/6/98 Pepsi Southern 500 Ford 3 7 365/367 46,485 Running

3/23/97 TranSouth 400 Ford 15 6 293/293 32,825 Running

8/31/97 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 43 43 5/367 29,270 Accident

3/24/96 TranSouth 400 Ford 8 4 293/293 29,480 Running

9/1/96 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 28 38 102/367 24,895 Accident

3/26/95 TranSouth 400 Ford 8 23 235/293 24,630 Running

9/3/95 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 21 3 367/367 45,580 Running

3/27/94 TranSouth 400 Ford 8 33 218/293 17,850 Running

9/4/94 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Ford 19 7 366/367 23,620 Running

3/28/93 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 3 5 366/367 20,400 Running

9/6/93 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Pontiac 11 3 351/351 27,495 Running

3/29/92 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 19 11 364/367 14,665 Running

9/6/92 Mt. Dew Southern 500 Pontiac 21 9 298/298 17,060 Running

4/7/91 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 21 5 365/367 10,260 Running

9/1/91 Heinz Southern 500 Pontiac 13 32 214/367 5,045 Engine

4/1/90 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 11 18 359/367 14,900 Running

9/2/90 Heinz Southern 500 Pontiac 4 40 14/367 14,400 Engine

4/2/89 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 5 8 366/367 15,120 Running

9/3/89 Heinz Southern 500 Pontiac 5 4 367/367 24,330 Running

3/27/88 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 5 25 265/367 11,585 Engine

9/4/88 Southern 500 Pontiac 5 2 367/367 38,850 Running

3/29/87 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 6 20 322/367 10,075 Running

9/6/87 Southern 500 Pontiac 16 2 202/202 33,695 Running

4/13/86 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 13 6 364/367 12,575 Running

8/31/86 Southern 500 Pontiac 16 23 316/367 9,710 Running

4/14/85 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 20 5 365/367 11,800 Running

9/1/85 Southern 500 Pontiac 14 38 21/367 3,880 Accident

4/15/84 TranSouth 500 Pontiac 24 30 175/367 3,405 Accident

9/2/84 Southern 500 Pontiac 18 4 365/367 14,405 Running

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

Carolina Dodge 400 21 0 5 10 0 $747,346

Mt. Dew Southern 500 21 0 6 10 0 823,195

TOTAL 42 0 11 20 0 $1,526,141

Lap completion percentage: 11,918/14,112 = 84.5 percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WALLACE CALLS SUNDAY’S AARON’S 499 “MOST PIVOTAL” RACE YET

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Hoping To Bounce Back From “Brutal” Phoenix Race–

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 27, 2005) – When Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace was being interviewed in the infield media center at Phoenix International Raceway last Friday morning, he predicted the next few races along the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit would be extremely important.

"I think these next four or five weeks will be very critical in the championship picture,”  Wallace said. “If you have a bad race, it could knock you out of it."He didn’t realize it at the moment, but the words he uttered on Friday were prophetic – especially for his Larry Carter-led Penske Racing South team. After finishing 36th in Saturday night’s Subway Fresh 500 at P.I.R., Wallace dropped from third to 10th in the series pointstandings. He is determined to bounce back in this weekend’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Saturday night at Phoenix was just brutal for us and we need to get back on track at Talladega,” Wallace offered on Monday, while still enjoying the warm Arizona weather. “We were off on the chassis at the beginning of the race, but got adjusting on it and it was coming around. We didn’t pit there on that caution (sixth yellow of the race on Lap 189) and everyone behind us did. When we went back to green (restarted 11th), all the guys with the fresh tires blew by us from behind.

“But what really killed us was getting caught up in the aftermath of the deal between the 48 car (Jimmie Johnson) and the 20 car (Tony Stewart),” said Wallace. “I was just an innocent victim and had nowhere to go. I still can’t figure out what allthat was about. The 48 got into the 20 car and spun him going into turn three, and when he spun him all heck broke loose.

They were getting wild going down into three. They were getting mad at each other. The 48 punted the 20. The 20 went around, and that was it.

“We wound up puncturing the radiator and had to go to the garage to replace it,” said  Wallace. “I’m convinced that we were headed toward at least another top 10 (finish) before all that happened. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“We’re definitely still solid players in the picture as far as the points go,” Wallace continued. “But we need to go on to Talladega and get us a good finish there, that’s for sure. ”  The 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway is certainly not one of  the most promising tracks for Wallace to be looking to regain the momentum that may have gone astray at Phoenix, but the 1989 series champ and 55-race winner still radiates with optimism.

“You never know what can happen in the Talladega races and we’re coming in therewith the attitude that we can win,” said Wallace, who is still looking for his first Talladega win after 43 races. “If you can stay in the draft and keep the car in one piece all day, you cancome out of there on top.”

Wallace’s overall career record at Talladega sports just one top-five finish (July 1988), but he does have 12 top-10 finishes to date. “This points deal is just so tight right now,” said Wallace as he looked at the standings on Monday. “We took a big hit at Phoenix, but so did the 16 car (Greg Biffle, who finished41st), the 20 (Stewart, who finished 33rd) and some of the others. We’re only 92 (points) out of third and less than 50 (49 points) out of fifth, so the pendulum can really  swing again this weekend at Talladega. It could just be the most pivotal race yet this season.”

Wallace and his Larry Carter-led Miller Lite team will be racing the PRS-066 Dodge this weekend at Talladega. The car debuted in the 2004 Daytona 500 and was also raced at Talladega in last year’s Aaron’s 499.

“It was our primary car for Daytona, but she got crashed in the qualifying race,” explained Carter. “But now she’s like a brand new car. We have a brand new body on her and she’s been tweaked through the (wind) tunnel several times this year. This car has had the best numbers ever for one of our speedway cars, so we have some pretty high hopes going for this weekend at Talladega.”

Friday’s qualifying session at 3:05 p.m. (local CDT) will determine all 43 starting spots for Sunday’s 188- lap, 500-mile battle. Saturday’s final “happy hour” practice session is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 has a 12:20 p.m. CDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE 2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/ Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment 2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other 217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash 2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes 2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow 3/13 UAW- aimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged 3/20Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks 4/3 FoodCity 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90 Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire 4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?

Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear 4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd 4/23 Subway Fresh 500 9 36 272/312 0/0 90,908 Running/86 car tight/then Phoenix, Ariz. Crashed w/20/returned # led most laps 2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/ Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

8 0 1 4 0 2/5/204 10th /960/-300 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 16.8

2,849/2,894 = 98.4% $ 1,099,116 Average Finish: 15.4

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

678 55 195 336 36 $44,871,737

RUSTY WALLACE CAREER TRACK RECORDS

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

(2.66 miles)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

4/25/04 Aaron’s 499 Dodge 32 33 144/188 $107,108 Running

10/3/04 EASports 500 Dodge 33 26 188/188 106,403 Running

4/6/03 Aaron’s 499 Dodge 31 37 12/188 101,567 Accident

9/28/03 EA Sports 500 Dodge 33 9 188/188 97,742 Running

4/21/02 Aaron's 499 Ford 13 8 188/188 107,480 Running

10/6/02 EA Sports 500 Ford 6 13 188/188 93,805 Running

4/22/01 Talladega 500 Ford 26 13 188/188 94,630 Running

10/21/01 EA Sports 500 Ford 32 16 188/188 87,865 Running

4/16/00 DieHard 500 Ford 17 41 116/188 51,050 Engine

10/15/00 Winston 500 Ford 38 8 188/188 59,500 Running

4/25/99 DieHard 500 Ford 4 41 50/188 44,925 Handling

10/17/99 Winston 500 Ford 10 11 188/188 51,655 Running

4/26/98 DieHard 500 Ford 23 12 188/188 44,295 Running

10/11/98 Winston 500 Ford 12 27 182/188 41,290 Running

5/10/97 Winston 500 Ford 4 37 180/188 31,571 Engine

10/12/97 DieHard 500 Ford 9 10 199/188 42,900 Running

4/28/96 Winston Select 500 Ford 15 30 159/188 27,370 Handling

7/28/96 DieHard 500 Ford 32 10 129/129 31,925 Running

4/30/95 Winston Select 500 Ford 35 20 188/188 27,755 Running

7/23/95 Diehard 500 Ford 26 30 158/188 26,880 Accident

5/1/94 Winston Select 500 Ford 20 33 112/188 20,730 Accident

7/24/94 Diehard 500 Ford 26 42 8/188 21,425 Piston

5/2/93 Winston 500 Pontiac 24 6 188/188 28,490 Flying

7/25/93 Diehard 500 Pontiac 32 17 188/188 17,900 Running

5/3/92 Winston 500 Pontiac 18 11 188/188 18,530 Running

7/26/92 Diehard 500 Pontiac 28 11 187/188 17,220 Running

5/6/91 Winston 500 Pontiac 7 26 146/188 5,645 Running

7/28/91 Diehard 500 Pontiac 8 6 188/188 16,250 Running

5/6/90 Winston 500 Pontiac 22 20 183/188 17,575 Running

7/29/90 Diehard 500 Pontiac 26 32 149/188 15,465 Engine

5/7/89 Winston 500 Pontiac 26 10 188/188 21,225 Running

7/30/89 Diehard 500 Pontiac 14 37 26/188 12,225 Accident

5/1/88 Winston 500 Pontiac 15 10 188/188 19,300 Running

7/31/88 Talladega 500 Pontiac 22 5 188/188 23,215 Running

5/3/87 Winston 500 Pontiac 14 6 187/188 21,325 Running

7/26/87 Talladega 500 Pontiac 9 8 188/188 14,645 Running

5/4/86 Winston 500 Pontiac 16 13 187/188 12,440 Running

7/27/86 Talladega 500 Pontiac 22 35 70/188 5,410 Engine

5/5/85 Winston 500 Pontiac 35 37 7/188 4,875 Engine

7/28/85 Talladega 500 Pontiac 23 17 183/188 7,860 Running

5/6/84 Winston 500 Pontiac 31 31 107/188 4,580 Steering

7/29/84 Talladega 500 Pontiac 10 12 188/188 8,035 Running

8/2/81 Talladega 500 Pontiac 19 21 147/188 2,225 Engine

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

Aaron's 499 21 0 0 5 0 $812,466

EA Sports 500 22 0 1 7 0 801,840

TOTAL 43 0 1 12 0 $1,614,306

Lap completion percentage: 6,580/8,025 = 82.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Rusty Snap-On at Infineon: This June, Snap-on will recognize racing legend Rusty Wallace's "Last Call" with a special paint scheme salute on his #2 Dodge Charger. The paint scheme will be unveiled in the June 26 NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The scheme prominently features the familiar Snap-on red logo on the hood with the Miller Lite logo and a special Snap-on 85th anniversary logo on the rear quarter panels. The recognition, in collaboration with Penske Racing South and primary sponsor Miller Brewing Company, continues Snap-on Tools Company's sponsorship of Rusty Wallace's #2 Dodge, a relationship that began in 2000. "Rusty's 'Last Call' represents the end of a racing era. During the last 24 years, Rusty has developed a skill for racing and a fan base unlike any other in NASCAR," said Carl Johanson, Snap-on Tools motorsports marketing manager. "Celebrating together with Penske Racing South, Snap-on couldn't be happier to commemorate Rusty's storied career alongside Miller Brewing Company." Beyond the special paint scheme, Snap-on Tools will feature special promotions and products throughout 2005 honoring Wallace's successful career on and off the track. (Ogilvy PR Worldwide), see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes pageJayski.com  4/20/05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

WHOSE TIME IS IT TO WIN AT P.I.R.? PERHAPS IT’S RUSTY’S

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Rusty Wallace Expecting Another “Good And Solid” Performance At Phoenix–

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2004) – “Good and solid.” Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace has been using that exact terminology – those very adjectives – quite often during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. His most recent rendering comes in describing his Larry Carter-led team’s preparation for this weekend’s Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

“We had a good and solid test at Phoenix last week (April 11-12) and are really looking forward to this weekend,” said Wallace, who finished 10th at Texas on Sunday and climbed from seventh to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.

“We had two cars there for the test and they both ran really well. We had to decide which car to concentrate our effort on, so we went with the California car (PRS-086 that debuted with a 10th-place finish on 2/27 at California Speedway) and focused on getting it ready to race. At the end of the day, we were convinced that we have a good and solid little hot rod ready to race at Phoenix. “Phoenix has always been a great track for us,” offered Wallace, whose “good and solid” 2005 record now boasts four top-10 finishes and six top-15 finishes in the seven races.

"We're certainly looking for more success this time around. We only have one win there so far, but have run well enough to have won four or five races through the years. It has always seemed like we've been able to call on that track to give us a real boost when we needed it most. I keep telling people that it's probably because of the success I had back in the early years in USAC and all, on tracks like Milwaukee and others. Whatever it is behind our success,  it just always seems that we can head out there to Phoenix and we really get our mojo workin'."

Wallace certainly does have a “good and solid” record on the one-mile flat track that was carved out of the foothills of the Estrella Mountains. He has competed in all 17 races at Phoenix, scoring one victory (1998) and eight top-10 finishes. He finished seventh at Phoenix last fall Wallace has led 868 laps at PIR, almost twice as much as the second-place driver intotal laps led (Mark Martin with 471). He has led 16.5 percent of all the laps since the Cup tour first visited PIR in 1988, when the late Alan Kulwicki recorded his first career series victory. Not only does Wallace excel at P.I.R. on race days, his qualifying record there is also “good and solid.” He has posted 15 top-10 starts in 17 races at Phoenix. Wallace has scored three poles and is tied with Ryan Newman for the most poles there. His only starts outside the top 10 came in two of his last three races there. Overall, he has a 6.9 starting average in 17 races at Phoenix, the best of all drivers with more than two starts there.

Wallace’s “good and solid” 2005 season has him the highest up in the point standings that he has been since he ranked third after the Talladega race in April 2002. That was through the ninth race of that season. Under the old “Non-Chase”format, Wallace finished seventh in the final standings that year. Currently, he trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by237 points and is 102 points behind second-place Greg Biffle. Wallace ranked 11th in the point standings after sevenraces one year ago.

“With this weekend’s race being another one of the ‘impound races,’ we won’t be focusing that much on qualifying, but rather trying to get our car super fast on the long runs,”offered Wallace. “I think we can start up front and be a factor all race long this weekend. We’ve got four top 10s in the first seven races, but we haven’t won yet and that’s what wereally want to do right now. Our goals are to win and be a part of ‘The Chase.’”

This weekend’s Phoenix NASCAR NEXTEL Cup action kicks off on Thursday with practice sessions from 2:55 p.m. until 3:55 p.m. and from 6:15 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Friday’s3:10 p.m. (local) qualifying session will establish the starting grid for Saturday’s 312-lap, 500- kilometer battle, with all cars impounded at the conclusion of qualifying. Saturday’s Subway Fresh 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. local time and features live coverage by FOX TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-

PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

(1.0 mile)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

11/7/04 Checker Auto Parts 500 Dodge 15 7 315/315 $111,658 Running

11/2/03 Checker Auto Parts 500 Dodge 5 33 305/312 85,217 Running

11/10/02 Checker Auto Parts 500 Ford 29 2 312/312 163,825 Running

10/28/01 Checker Auto Parts 500 Ford 4 15 312/312 97,590 Running

11/5/00 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 1 4 312/312 98,860 Running

11/7/99 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 9 32 309/312 48,775 Running

10/25/98 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 6 1 257/257 78,005 Running

11/2/97 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 3 2 312/312 63,355 Running

10/27/96 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 9 40 151/312 24,465 Oil Pump

10/29/95 Dura-Lube 500 Ford 6 4 312/312 36,118 Running

10/30/94 Slick 50 500 Ford 2 17 310/312 20,420 Running

10/31/93 Slick 50 500 Pontiac 6 19 310/312 15,495 Running

11/1/92 Pyroil 500 Pontiac 1 28 295/312 26,735 Running

11/3/91 Pyroil 500 Pontiac 10 5 312/312 16,475 Running

11/4/90 Checker 500 Pontiac 1 38 77/312 15,975 Engine

11/5/89 Autoworks 500 Pontiac 9 16 311/312 14,745 Running

11/6/88 Checker 500 Pontiac 2 5 312/312 20,400 Running

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

TOTAL 17 1 7 8 3 $938,113

Lap completion percentage: 4,824/5,252 = 91.9%

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE

2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/

Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight

Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught

Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car

Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong

Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight

Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged

3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap

Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks

4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90

Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire

4/10 Advance Auto Pts. 500 4 5 500/500 1/47 121,308 Running/70 car speeding?

Martinsville, Va. and had to come from rear

4/17 Samsung/Rad. Shack 500 6 10 334/334 0/0 119,200 Running/35 car pit penalty

Fort Worth, Texas and came back from 33rd

# led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

7 0 1 4 0 2/5/204 3rd /905/-237 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 17.9

2,577/2,582 = 99.8% $ 1,099,116 Average Finish: 12.4

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

677 55 195 336 36 $44,780,829

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

For Immediate Release

For Information: Deb Williams

Penske Racing South

(M) 704-619-9630

deb.williams@prs.penskeracing.com

Wallace's Dodge To Carry Kodak Colors At Texas

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Tuesday, April 12, 2005) - Rusty Wallace's Penske Racing South No. 2 Dodge will feature Kodak as its primary sponsor in the April 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway due to a unique cooperative effort between Penske Racing South, MillerBrewing Company and Eastman Kodak Company that will allow  Kodak to participate in "Rusty's Last Call."

Wallace is in his last season as a driver on NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup circuit. Miller Brewing Company, the Missouri native's primary sponsor since 1990, is working with other Penske Racing South sponsors in aunique marketing arrangement that provides them with the opportunity to participate in the celebration of Wallace's racing career. "We appreciate Miller Brewing Company giving us this opportunity to participate in 'Rusty's Last Call'," said Bud Denker, Director and Vice President, Brand and Market Development for Eastman Kodak Company. "He has meant a great deal to this sport and to be able to be a part of his final season as a driver on NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup circuit in such an instrumental way will definitely provide the NASCAR fans with a special Kodak moment."

This is the second time the unique marketing arrangement has existed between Kodak and Miller Brewing Company. Wallace's initial appearance in the Kodak colors occurred last August at Watkins Glen [N.Y.] International, marking the first time in nearly 15 years that Wallace had not carried a Miller brand on his car as his primary sponsor. "It is no secret that we have wonderful sponsors at Penske Racing South," said Don Miller, President of Penske Racing South. "The working relationship they have is rare in today's corporate environment, but itdemonstrates how impact and exposure can be maximized for their products and our drivers when such relationships exist."

Kodak is in its second season with Penske Racing South as the sponsor of the No. 77 Dodge driven this year by NEXTEL  Cup rookie Travis Kvapil.The Wisconsin native's Dodge will carry Jasper Engines and Transmissions as that team's  primary sponsor for the Texas event.

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      RUSTY WALLACE FACTS

Team Information & Bio
Sponsor: Miller Lite
Owner: Roger Penske
Crew Chief:
Larry Carter
Car:
Dodge 
Busch Series Info
Truck Series Info
Read Full Biography
Birthdate: Aug 14, 1956
Join Rusty's Fan Club!

Driver Highlights
AS OF 2004:
55 Nextel Cup victories
2004: Won at Martinsville
2004: Finished 16th in points
2003: Finished 14th in points
1989: NASCAR champion
1984: Rookie of the Year
 

'89 season still Wallace's pinnacle     NASCAR.com  4/7/05 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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WALLACE LOOKS TO KEEP CHASE MOMENTUM GOING AT MARTINSVILLE

-Defending Advance Auto Parts 500 Champions “Racing Smart,” Says Crew Chief Larry Carter-MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 5, 2005) – Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace took exception to a major newspaper reporter’s line of questioning after qualifying third at Bristol last Friday. The subject wasn’t last weekend’s Food City 500, but rather Wallace’s quest to remain in the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and be a participant in this year’s “Chase For The Championship.”

“I absolutely do (see myself qualifying for The Chase),” Wallace said after being told by the writer that he was not expected to be in the mix for this year’s championship during his final “Last Call” season as a driver. “I understand why they think that based on last year’spoints and what happened, but I know what happened last year and how our car is running this year. I expect myself to be in the top five, top eight at least. I feel that good about our cars. That’s a disturbing statement you just said, but hopefully we can change some people’s minds. A lot of people have a lot of  opinions.”

Another major team player that took offense to that line of questioning is crew chief Larry Carter. “I don’t know who said that to Rusty and who was asking the questions, but after reading his response, I know it’ll really keep him fired up,”offered Carter on Monday, as his team prepared for Tuesday’s test at Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend’s Advance AutoParts 500 at Martinsville Speedway. “Rusty drove his guts out there at Bristol on Sunday and I hope that writer was watching closely. Stuff like that keeps us all fired up. “It very well could have been a situation of not what the writer said, but the way they said it,” Carter continued. “Regardless, the bottom line is that Rusty’s shown so much determination to stay right there in the thick of things this season and it’s really motivated the entire team to stay on top of their game.

“We’re headed back to Martinsville where we won this race a year ago,” said Carter, enjoying his second season as leader of Wallace’s Miller Lite Dodge team. “We’re bringing the exact same car (PRS-070) that we won the race with last season and look to be there up front again on Sunday.”

While it may appear to be the same driver, same car and same crew that Carter is returning to Martinsville with this weekend, he contends that is not entirely the case. “It may look like everything’s the same from the outside, but if you’re  part of this bunch (a team member), working and living with ‘em week in and week out, you can feel that there’s a big difference,” Carter contends. “If you’re not an insider, you really have to scratch the surface to see just what I mean.

“I really feel that we have our total act together this season,” continued Carter. “Rusty’s been up on the wheel all year long, the pit stops have been good and we’ve beentaking great cars and engines to the track each and every week. “Every  time out this year, we’ve been racing smart. We’ve gotten all we could out of each race so far. When we’ve had problems, we’ve been able to regroup immediately and   maximize what we have left for the day.

“I can’t help but think back of what we did at Daytona – bringing out the backup car and getting a top-10 finish out of it,”Carter said. Or what we did at Las Vegas – unplugging that shock and getting a 12th (-place finish) instead of a 22nd. We dominated at Bristol during the first half of the race and, even when we had the tire problem and went two laps down, we kept coming back. Even after getting held two laps on pit road, we still came back and got a 13thplace finish out of it.

“You might say that we have good damage control or are doing a good job minimizing  the fallout this year,” added Carter, “but I like to think of it as maximizing the opportunity. Whatever you want to call it, I think we’re a top-10 team week in and week out and people shouldn’t be surprised to see us up there at the end of the year.” The statistics certainly back  Carter’s theory. After five races had been completed last season, Wallace was 23rd in the point standings. Entering this weekend’s return to Martinsville, he is tied for eighth. Last year at this time, his average finish was 22.0. This year he has a 14.4 average finish in the first five races. Going into the sixth race last season,  Wallace had yet to lead a single lap. He has led almost nine percent of all total laps for the  2005 campaign. He is among the five drivers who have ranked in the top 10 in the NASCAR  NEXTEL Cup point standings after every race this season.

“One thing is sure and that’s Martinsville offers us the perfect opportunity to make  believers out of a lot of people,” Carter concluded. Carter is certainly correct about that. After all, Wallace is the active statistical leader at  the .526-mile track with seven wins, 17 top-five finishes and 24 top-10 finishes in 42 races. He has led 3,585 laps, which ranks him third    on the all-time list (behind only Cale Yarborough’s 3,851 and Darrell Waltrip’s 3,616) and almost twice as many laps as any other active driver.

A brief recap of last year’s Advance Auto Parts 500, won by Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace and ending a 105- ace winless streak, follows. Wallace’s victory marked the first Dodge win at Martinsville since Dave Marcis scored his career-first (then named) NASCAR Grand National victory in a Dodge there in September 1975: Wallace started the April Martinsville race from the 17th starting spot. He launched a patient  march up through the field and was in the top 10 at Lap 70. He was up to third 100 laps later. Perhaps the strangest incident of the year occurred during a yellow flag with less than 100 laps    remaining when a hole developed in the Turn 3 concrete. A huge piece chunked out of the track and caused considerable damage to the front end of Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet. NASCAR officials were  forced to red flag the race to address the situation by placing an epoxy mixture in the hole.

An hour and 17 minutes passed before the cement had dried and the action on the track resumed. Wallace was fourth on the Lap 302 restart and up to third when the 10th yellow flag of the race flew with 75 laps remaining. After the restart, he disposed of teammate Ryan Newman for the second spot on Lap 434 and wrestled the lead away from Jimmie Johnson on Lap 449. Wallace built  up a 3.5-second lead before a three-car crash bunched up the field again on Lap 456. But when the green flag flew for the final time with 38 laps to go, Wallace took off. Bobby Labonte made a late race charge to challenge Wallace, but the 1989 champ wouldn’t allow this win to slip through his grasp. At the checkers, it was Wallace taking a popular seventh career Martinsville win by four car lengths over Labonte.

“It’s been so long, and we’ve been so close,” Wallace said immediately after winning last year’s race. “The fans have been behind me for so long, and this one is for them. We finally got this Miller Lite Dodge in Victory Lane like it deserves  to be. We’ve been running great. I want to thank Larry Carter (crew chief) and my entire Miller Lite racing team. The engine was good. The brakes worked good. I had a great time. I’m going to go home and have a cold Miller Lite and think about it. That’s pretty cool.”

“It has been a tradition with our team to name our cars after their first win,” Wallace said of his “PRS-070” Dodge. “Usually we name the cars immediately after the race, but we hadn’t won in so long that we wanted to come up with a really special name for this car. We'd been trying to get our friends at Bell Helicopter Textron to name one of their new   models ‘The Predator’ for some time now. It was really my chief pilot, Bill Brooks’ idea. He said that the predator was the  ultimate hunter and it strikes like nothing else. He thought that would be a cool name that the fans would love. This was a brand  new car that won right out of the box. The car never touched a racetrack until we got it to Martinsville. That's quite  impressive and that’s the story behind the name we gave the car.”

Wallace started last fall’s Martinsville race on the outside pole and was running second with six laps remaining. But a run- in with teammate Ryan Newman cleared the way for a Jimmie Johnson win and relegated Wallace to the 10th finishing position.

Friday’s 3:10 p.m. qualifying session will determine the starting field for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500. This being a “non-impound” race, unlike last weekend at Bristol, the NEXTEL Cup teams have two 45-minute practices on Saturday, with the final session beginning at 11:10 a.m. Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 (500 laps, 263 miles) has a 1:20 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio. # # #

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE

2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/

Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight

Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught

Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car

Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 137,383 Running/new 86 car strong

Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

3/13 UAW-DaimlerChrys. 400 21 12 267/267 0/0 129,283 Running/86 car loose/tight

Las Vegas, Nev. before shock unplugged

3/20 Golden Corral 500 32 27 322/325 0/0 99,553 Running/78 car in 1st-lap

Hampton, Ga. wreck/changed shocks

4/3 Food City 500 3 13 498/500 4/157# 126,298 Running/dominant new 90

Bristol, Tenn. car hit by flat RF tire

# led most laps

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

5 0 0 2 0 1/4/157 9th /611/-224 to #48

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 23.0

1,743/1,748 = 99.7% $ 858,608 Average Finish: 14.4

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

675 55 194 334 36 $44,540,321

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

(.526-mile)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

4/18/04 Advance Auto Parts 500 Dodge 17 1 500/500 $170,998 Running

10/24/04 Subway 500 Dodge 2 10 500/500 106,308 Running

4/13/03 Virginia 500 Dodge 5 8 500/500 91,217 Running

10/19/03 Subway 500 Dodge 7 29 497/500 78,392 Running

4/14/02 Virginia 500 Ford 5 16 500/500 85,000 Running

10/20/02 Old Dominion 500 Ford 5 9 500/500 86,625 Running

4/8/01 Virginia 500 Ford 2 13 500/500 82,415 Running

10/15/01 Old Dominion 500 Ford 9 15 500/500 79,290 Running

4/9/00 Goody's 500 Ford 1 10 500/500 64,100 Running

10/1/00 NAPA 500 Ford 2 23 498/500 43,275 Running

4/18/99 Goody’s 500 Ford 5 7 500/500 57,075 Running

10/3/99 NAPA 500 Ford 20 4 500/500 53,325 Running

4/20/98 Goody's 500 Ford 2 6 500/500 41,525 Running

9/27/98 NAPA 500 Ford 17 28 486/500 32,050 Running

4/20/97 Goody's 500 Ford 15 5 500/500 33,875 Running

9/29/97 Hanes 500 Ford 7 15 500/500 39,065 Running

4/21/96 Goody's 500 Ford 5 1 500/500 59,245 Running

9/22/96 Hanes 500 Ford 2 36 148/500 31,550 Engine

4/23/95 Hanes 500 Ford 15 1 356/356 59,445 Running

9/24/95 Goody's 500 Ford 6 3 500/500 42,400 Running

4/24/94 Hanes 500 Ford 1 1 500/500 173,675 Running

9/25/94 Goody's 500 Ford 7 1 500/500 69,125 Running

4/25/93 Hanes 500 Pontiac 5 1 500/500 45,175 Running

9/26/93 Goody's 500 Pontiac 4 2 500/500 31,875 Running

4/26/92 Hanes 500 Pontiac 7 31 178/500 11,000 Engine

9/28/92 Goody's 500 Pontiac 8 2 500/500 39,400 Running

4/28/91 Hanes 500 Pontiac 5 21 458/500 3,750 Trans.

9/22/91 Goody's 500 Pontiac 7 7 500/500 11,500 Running

4/29/90 Hanes 500 Pontiac 17 2 500/500 36,800 Running

9/23/90 Goody's 500 Pontiac 2 15 493/500 19,275 Running

4/23/89 Pannill 500 Pontiac 9 31 272/500 10,510 Engine

9/24/89 Goody's 500 Pontiac 20 4 500/500 18,875 Running

4/24/88 Pannill 500 Pontiac 2 16 488/500 12,350 Running

9/25/88 Goody's 500 Pontiac 1 3 500/500 26,825 Running

4/26/87 Sovran Bank 500 Pontiac 5 2 500/500 27,325 Running

9/27/87 Goody's 500 Pontiac 12 28 162/500 8,200 Engine

4/27/86 Sovran Bank 500 Pontiac 5 30 56/500 7,125 Engine

9/21/86 Goody's 500 Pontiac 8 1 500/500 40,175 Running

4/28/85 Sovran Bank 500 Pontiac 14 10 496/500 6,680 Running

9/22/85 Goody's 500 Pontiac 7 25 266/500 3,935 Engine

4/29/84 Sovran Bank 500 Pontiac 14 15 491/500 4,675 Running

9/23/84 Goody's 500 Pontiac 8 13 486/500 5,015 Running

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

Advance Auto Parts 500 21 3 10 14 2 $1,083,960

Subway 500 21 4 7 10 1 976,085

TOTAL 42 7 17 24 3 $2,060,045

Lap completion percentage: 18,831/20,896 = 90.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Rusty Wallace won his first Cup race at Bristol, winning there in the spring of 1986, in his fifth race at the track. In 37 races at Bristol since, he has posted eight more victories, including three of the past 12 races. Wallace has also led at least one lap in 27 of his 42 races at Bristol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 582-3711

NASCAR NEXTEL CUP COMPETITION IS “A CONTINUING HUMBLING EXPERIENCE” FOR MILLER LITE CREW CHIEF LARRY CARTER

-With Two Top-10 Finishes, Rusty Wallace & Team Carry Momentum Into Las Vegas-

LAS VEGAS (March 8, 2005) – “Whatwe do out there is a continuing humbling experience,” Miller Lite Dodge crew chief  Larry Carter said immediately after his driver, Rusty Wallace,  posted his second consecutive top-10 finish for 2005 in the Feb. 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.

That statement by Carter may have sounded a little strange at the time, especially coming from the leader of a team that had just moved up to eighth in the point standings. Even more so, considering the team’s “over-the-wall gang” had just won the $10,000 prize for the fastest pit work during the race among teams participating in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition.

“Out there, the bottom line is that you’re only as good as your last race, your last call from up on that box or your last pit stop,” Carter later explained. “We had a heck of a day going out there in the pits, but that last one (pit stop) was a bad stop. The good thing, big picture- wise, was that the four stops that led up to the final one were exceptionally good and that made the overall average good enough to win the award. That may have taken a little bit of the sting out, but it still didn’t remove the fact that the last one was a bad pit stop.” Carter, Wallace and team made five four-tire pit stops and one two-tire stop during the 500-mile California race. The first four were clocked at 13.467 seconds, 13.284 seconds, 13.364  seconds and 13.096 seconds respectively. That was followed by a 6.492-second two tire stop and then, a disappointing 15.705-second final four-tire stop.

“On that final stop, Rusty came in sixth and went out 11th and that really hurt us at the time,” Carter explained. “Rusty got on the radio and asked what happened. All I could tell him was that we had a bad stop – no excuses, we just had a bad stop.

“When I came in here as the crew chief at the beginning of last season, Rusty convinced me immediately that a top priority he had for me was getting the pit crew situation turned around. It took us till about last April to get all the right guys assembled in the right places to get the job done. In the past, the crew was pretty inconsistent and bad stops wereup in the 17-second bracket. I told ‘em back then that the big goal was to get faster and more consistency going and to trim any bad stops we might have down to stops in the 15-second bracket.

“I’m really proud of the guys we have going over the wall,” Carter added. “Notice I said ‘we have’ in that we are all in this together. I think there might have been a lot of finger pointing done in the past when things went wrong on pit road, but that’s definitely not the case around here any more. I think we have the best people out there and when something happens, it’s a situation of ‘we had a bad stop’ and not ‘so and so messed up.’ -more-

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“The great thing about it all is that we’ll bounce right back out in Las Vegas this weekend and redeem ourselves and I’m confident of that,” Carter said. For the record, Wallace’s crew averaged an impressive 13.783 seconds per four-tire stopat California, even including the final stop up in the 15-second bracket. That came only a week after the team averaged 13.588 seconds for their eight four-tire stops in the season openingDaytona 500. Their fastest stop of the season so far came in that race, a 12.919- second stop for four tires and fuel. Wallace, Carter and the Miller Lite team are riding the crest of the momentum entering this weekend’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After finishing 10th in the season-opening Daytona 500, they ran as high as third before coming home 10th at California in the second race of the 2005 season. Wallace climbed from 10th to eighth in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point   standings (with 268 points).

Wallace has scored four top-10 finishes in his last five races, since Phoenix last November. He has competed in all seven races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, scoring three top-10 finishes. He finished 10th in this race last year. Wallace ranked 13th in the point standings after two races one year ago.

"It’s (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) a great track to race on and we had a super test out there the first of last month,” said Wallace, who along with the other two Penske Racing South drivers (Ryan Newman and Travis Kvapil) will race cars promoting the new line of Mobil highendurance motor oils – which guarantee engine protection for longer intervals – during this weekend’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. “The ‘Vegas track has a little bit of Phoenix, a little bit of Fontana (California Speedway) and a little bit of Richmond built into one. You can pass at the top, you can pass at the bottom -- you just have to have a lot of horsepower. I’m so excited that our team is off to a competitive start for 2005 and we’re confident that our team can be even more successful this weekend out at ‘Vegas.

“We’ve had a lot of good runs at Las Vegas – just a couple of setbacks with some weird crashes,” Wallace offered. “In all the races where we’ve been running at the finish, we’ve been right up there in the thick of things.” Wallace saw accidents take him out of the 2001 LasVegas race (a Lap 8 incident with then teammate Jeremy Mayfield) and the 2003 event (a Lap 174 encounter with Mike Skinner). He started 21st and finished 10th there in 2004 and has a 9.6 average finish in the five races when he completed all the possible laps. Wallace, Carter and team will be using the same car they debuted in  competition at California – their PRS-086 Dodge Charger. “That was our game plan from the testing out west and allalong, to use this same car in both races,” Carter explained.

“We loaded her back up in the hauler after the California race, took her back home and ran her back through the body shop. ‘W.W.’ (Dave Munari) and the guys in the paint shop put the Mobil Clean 7500 decals on her and she looks like a brand new race car. I can just hear Rusty now, talking about his goodlooking, sexy little Mobil 1 hot rod when we get out there.”

Friday’s qualifying session at 3:10 p.m. local time (6:10 EST) allocates all starting positions for Sunday’s starting field. Sunday’s 267-lap, 400-mile race has a 12:00 noon local (3:00 p.m. EST) starting time and features live coverage by FOX- V and PRN (radio) beginning an hour earlier.

# # #

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records- LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

(1.5 miles)

Date               Event                                  Car      St   Fn      Laps                $ Won         Status

3/7/04 UAW-Daimler/Chrysler 400        Dodge 21    10 267/267                 $129,108 Running

3/2/03 UAW-Chrysler/Daimler 400        Dodge 25     40 174/267                92,717 Accident

3/3/02 UAW-Chrysler/Daimler 400        Ford    38     11 267/267                113,925 Running

3/14/01 UAW-Chrysler/Daimler  400      Ford   10     43 8/267                   92,765 Accident

3/5/00 CarsDirect.com 400                      Ford 19          15 148/148                     82,075 Running

3/7/99 Las Vegas 400                               Ford 37         9 267/267 85,900 Running

3/1/98 Las Vegas 400                               Ford             10 3 267/267 156,500 Running

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

UAW-Damler/Chrysler 400 (& Career Totals) 7 0 1 3 0 $752,990

Lap completion percentage: 1,398/1,750 = 79.9%

* * *

RUSTY WALLACE/MILLER LITE TEAM PENSKE

2005 RACE RECORD/CAREER STATISTICAL BRIEF

Race Race Name Start Finish Laps comp/ Times Led/Date Location Pos. Pos. Poss. Laps Laps Led $$$ Won Status/Comment

2/12 Pole Shootout 15 14 70/70 0/0 38,445 Running/58 car was tight Daytona Beach, Fla. one end/loose at other

217 Gatorade Duel 150 (2nd) 8 24 35/60 0/0 21,213 Accident/66 car caught Daytona Beach, Fla. up in 29/48 big crash

2/20 Daytona 500 36 10 203/203 0/0 317,646 Running/backup 58 car Daytona Beach, Fla. strong/avoided 2 crashes

2/27 Auto Club 500 23 10 250/250 0/0 127,383 Running/new 86 car strong Fontana, Calif. didn’t stop on final yellow

2005 Season Recap: (points events)

Races Led/

Times Led/

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Laps Led Points Information

2            0        0           2           0          0/0         7th (tie)/268/-72 to #97

Lap Completion Percentage 2005 Winnings (Total) Average Start: 29.5

656/656 = 100% $ 504,687 Average Finish: 10.0

DNFs: 0

Career Brief:

Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Career $$$ Won

672 55 194 334 36 $44,175,187

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News

                                                   Newman, Rusty and Kvapil All In for Poker Challenge

What do you get when you combine NASCAR and IndyCar racing celebrities, a deck of cards, a famous Las Vegas casino, a new line of high-endurance motor oils, and $100,000? Well, the official name for it is the Mobil® High Endurance Charity Poker Challenge. But racing fans can simply think of it as one heck of a good time.

On Thursday, March 10, some of racing's biggest names, including Mobil NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman, Rusty Wallace and Travis Kvapil; two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves; and two-time IndyCar champion Sam Hornish Jr.; will gather at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for three hours of good old-fashioned poker. Additional players include Kenny Wallace, Jason Leffler and Richard Childress. At stake: $50,000 to the winner's charity of choice. The runner-up will receive $10,000 for his favorite charity, and every participant will earn his charity $4,000. The SPEED Channel will record the event for airing this spring.

"It's great fun to be able to play in this tournament and know that Mobil is giving the winner $50,000 for charity," said Ryan Newman. "All of the participating drivers are able to take something home for the charity of their choice."

The charity event supports the introduction of Mobil's new line of high-endurance motor oils, which meet the longer oil-change intervals being recommended by many of today's automobile manufacturers and respond to the fact that drivers today are going longer between oil changes - an average of 4,300 miles. The new product line is being supported by a new ad campaign that was unveiled February 20 during NASCAR's Daytona 500.

In addition, Newman, Wallace, and Kvapil will race cars promoting the new line of Mobil high-endurance motor oils during the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Newman (No.12) will run the Mobil 1 Extended Performance car in Vegas, with Wallace (No. 2) behind the wheel of the Mobil Clean 7500 car and NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Travis Kvapil (No. 77) driving the Mobil Clean 5000 car.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Rusty's Crew Wins at California: Penske Racing South's crew for the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Rusty Wallace has won the $10,000 prize for the fastest pit work during Sunday's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway among teams participating in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition. Joe Gibbs Racing's crew for the #20 Chevrolet of Tony Stewart was named the winner of the prize for its work in the season-opening Daytona 500.  NASCAR Scene  3/2/05  Jayski.com  3/3/05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

                 WALLACE SAYS CALIFORNIA COULD BE “MOST PIVOTAL” RACE OF SEASON

               -Miller Lite Dodge Driver Looks For More Success On Fontana’s 2.0-Mile California Speedway-

FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2005) – Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace thinks this weekend’s Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway may just be the most important race on the 2005  NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule. He is also convinced that his Larry Carter-led team can continue their strong competitive history on the fast 2.0-mile track. “After all the pre-season testing and hoopla the teams go through and then spending two weeks with the stress and emotions  peaking at Daytona, this weekend’s race at Fontana  could be the most pivotal deal of the whole season,” said Wallace, who ranks third on the California Speedway career performance chart. “One of the biggest reasons I say that is because  the way the schedule is set up for this year. There’s an open week right after California and that can mean the best of things or the worst possible situation for some of ‘em.

“If you’re still riding a high after Daytona, you can really have everybody on your team feeling like King Kong with another good run at California,” said Wallace, who started off his final campaign behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge with a strong 10th-place finish in Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500. “And the thing about it this year is that after the race his weekend at Fontana, you have an off weekend where that momentum and the team morale really can  spread.

“But, there’s another side to that equation, too,” Wallace offered. “If you’ve had a disastrous Daytona Speed Weeks and you get out to California and fall flat on your (rear), it’s like a double whammy and a team can find itself up against the wall after only two races. The kicker is that off week the guys have to dwell on it, thinking about what they’ve been through  the last couple of weekends. There’ll be a lot of teams that are pretty beat up mentally when we get back out to the third race of the season there at Las Vegas. That’s why I’m saying that the California race is so key. You either keep the Daytona energy rolling, you get out there and get your deal turned around or you get everybody all bummed out before the season has really even started.”

Wallace is confident that the California Speedway offers his team the perfect opportunity to build on their momentum coming off their top-10 finish at Daytona. “Fontana (California Speedway) is a track that we’ve loved racing at ever since we’ve been going out there,” said Wallace of the track hosting this weekend’s second stop along the “Rusty’s Last Call” tour for 2005. “We won there in 2001 and really could have easily had a couple more wins. We almost won at California during our second trip out there. I’ll never forget that race back in ’98. We started up in the top-five (started fourth) led some laps (2 times for 15 laps), led as late as with 50 to go (through Lap 199) and was running second with 10 laps to go. Mark (Martin) was leading the thing and we were closing in on him when the engine let go only a few laps from the end. The big thing is that we always seem to run well there and I’m really looking forward to this weekend.

“We did the western swing testing several weeks back at ‘Vegas then at California,” said Wallace. “I’ve been telling people that I thought we had a super test at ‘Vegas and a ‘soso’ test at California, but I think we’ll be in good shape this weekend at Fontana. It was so hard to get a gauge on how strong you were out there during the test because the wind was blowing a gazillion miles an hour. You couldn’t really size anybody up, but that 16 car (Greg Biffle) looked pretty stout to me.

“The big thing I saw out there was the fact that the track just didn’t seem to have the grip that it did and it’s really changed a lot even since we raced out there last September. I’d say that the strange weather, with all the rain and even snow, they’ve had out there has caused that.

“We have a brand new race car, the (PRS-0-) 86 car that we tested at both tracks and the game plan right now is to race that same car in both races,” Wallace said. “If we have to ding  er up getting a great finish this week at Fontana, well theguys have an off week between the  races to get her back to looking brand new again.

 “I think that the new procedure we’ll use this weekend where you start out racing with the exact setup that you qualify with may work in our favor. Our record shows that we’ve never really been known for our great qualifying there (best  start was fourth in 1998), but come Sunday, we’re always right up there battling for the win in almost every race. “I really have a good feeling about our chances at Fontana this weekend, I really do,” concluded Wallace. Wallace’s overall record at California boasts the win, along with two top-five finishes  and five top-10 finishes in the nine races completed there to date. He has $898,248 in career winnings at California entering this weekend.

 This weekend’s schedule calls for practice sessions on Friday from 1:20 p.m. until 2:40 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. All the cars will be impounded immediately after Saturday’s 12:10 p.m. qualifying session has concluded. The special Miller Lite Rock ‘n Racing concert featuring Alter Bridge is scheduled for late Saturday afternoon after the NASCAR Grand National race. Sunday’s Auto Club 500 has a 12:10 p.m. local (3:10 p.m. EST) starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

--An incredible day in Rusty’s pit area…Did you notice the super fast work done by Rusty’s “over-the-wall gang” during Sunday’s Daytona 500? The Larry Carter-led crew averaged 13.588 seconds for their eight four-tire stops. The fastest stop came on Lap 60, under the  green, when service was completed in 12.919 seconds. The slowest stop of the day was the very first one, a 14.353-second stop that came on Lap 15 under the yellow. “The guys had  super fast pit stops, but we kept on getting boxed in behind the 40 car (Sterling Marlin) and the car kept on stalling because of the clutch,” Rusty said of the crew’s pit work last Sunday.  “Because of that, they probably didn’t get all the attention that they deserved. When you look back and see how many of our seasons have started out down here, you can understand why I’m pretty happy when you start to look at the big picture.”

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-

CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY

(2.0-miles)

Date               Event           Car     St     Fn     Laps          $  Won            Status

5/2/04     Auto Club 500    Dodge    9       35      193/250    $109,008         Running

9/5/04     Pop Secret 500    Dodge  26      10      250/250     131,808          Running

4/27/03   Auto Club 500    Dodge    7        3       250/250     146,917         Running

4/28/02   NAPA Parts 500 Ford     10        8       250/250       107,725       Running

4/29/01    NAPA Parts 500   Ford     19       1        250/250      195,090         Running

4/30/00    NAPA 500           Ford     11        8       250/250       64,150         Running

5/2/99     California 500      Ford      6         11      249/250      57,325           Running

5/3/98     California 500     Ford        4        34       242/250       43,250         Engine

6/22/97    California 500      Ford     16       14       249/250        42,975        Running

                          Races              Wins           Top-5            Top-10              Poles                 $$$$$

Auto Club 500     8                       1                 2                      4                         0                  $766,440

Pop Secret 500     1                     0                   0                     1                         0                  $131,808

TOTALS                 9                  1                  2                        5                         0                 $898,248

Lap completion percentage: 2,183/2,250= 97.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

RUSTY WALLACE SIGNS UP FOR THIRD YEAR OF VISA ULTIMATE NASCAR EXPERIENCE

-Former NASCAR Champion & 55-Race Winner Excited About Continued Partnership-

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 8) – Officials of Rusty Wallace Inc. and Visa USA announced today the continued partnership between NASCAR racing great Rusty Wallace and the world’s number one payment brand. Under the agreement, Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Champion and 55-race winner, will continue to be a featured driver in the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience marketing campaign for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.

“Our association with Visa is something that I have been extremely proud of and to be able to continue our involvement this year is really exciting,” said Wallace, who is preparing for his “Rusty’s Last Call” tour, his final season as a driver in NASCAR’s premier series. “We’ve had so much fun with Visa’s program and the fans have been simply ecstatic about it. The fact that this will be our final year behind the wheel of my No. 2 Dodge should certainly enhance the promotion for 2005.” 

"Rusty Wallace has been a wonderful ambassador for Visa, and his participation in the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience is a cornerstone of its success," said Michael Lynch, senior vice president, event and sponsorship marketing, Visa USA. "Rusty’s ability to connect with fans and sponsors alike with his charisma and professionalism helps bring Visa cardholders closer to the action than any other sponsor."

Now in its third year, Visa’s Ultimate NASCAR Experience offers Visa cardholders VIP access to behind-the-scenes action at one of the final 10 chase races of the Nextel Cup season and the 2006 Daytona 500. Winners enjoy plush accommodations in the Visa luxury motor coach, situated in a prime infield location, tours of the garage and pit row, official team uniform to wear on race day, and a hot lap in the official pace car with Wallace or another driver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Contact: Tom Roberts/TRPR

(256) 508-2595

                         WALLACE & MILLER LITE TEAM FOCUSED ON DAYTONA 500 WIN

-Wallace Entering His Farewell “Last Call” Season Hoping To Finally Win “Big One” In 23rd Attempt-

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2005) – It would be a grand start to what Rusty Wallace hopes is looked back on years from now as a storybook finish. It would be the icing on the cake for what has been such a successful career that he is certainly destined to receive legendary status after the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, his final year behind the wheel of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

“Winning the Daytona 500 would be all of that and more,” says Wallace of the race win that has eluded him for almost 25 years entering his “Rusty’s Last Call” farewell season as a driver. “It’s the biggest race of them all and right there on Feb. 20 will be our last shot at being able to finally pull it off and win the big one. We’ve been there for 22 Daytona 500s before and have come so close to winning it. Rest assured that we’re pulling out all the stops in trying to finally come home the winner this time around.

“I haven’t won the Daytona 500 and I doubt there’s not too many people out there who are not aware of that fact,” said Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR premier series champion and a 55- race winner entering his final season as the driver of the Miller Lite-sponsored Penske Racing South Dodge Charger. “I got close many, many times. I’d love to go into my final year knowing I’ve finally got a 500 victory under my belt when we leave Daytona. That would be a special feeling. What would be my ultimate thing this year would be to win the 500 and win the final race at Homestead. That would be pretty hot if I could pull it off. We’re certainly hoping  for a lot of success this year, but right now finally winning the Daytona 500 is the biggest thing on my mind.”

After the recent pre-season Daytona testing was completed, Wallace came away feeling confident that he will have a car that is capable of winning.

“It was a bit frustrating at first, but we finally found the speed we were looking for down there and think we’ll be even stronger when we get back down there with the car,” Wallace said of his PRS-066 Dodge. “We unloaded on day 1 with two cars and one car ran a 49.70 and the other car came off the truck at a 49.50. We started working on both cars and made a decision that the faster car should be our car for the 500. We made many, many changes, a lot of aerodynamic changes, a lot of chassis setting, a lot of different things -- probably about 45 separate changes in all on the car, and finally ran a 48.56. We put the drafting setup in the thing and it flew, so we’re confident that we have a sleek little hot rod that can get the job done. The guys assure me we’ve got some extra horsepower at the shop that we’ll be able to take back to the track. We think we should be able to work the car down to about a (48.) 35 in qualifying trim when we get back to Daytona. If we have that much speed in the car and it handles as well as it did, we’ll be in great shape for the 500 – probably the best shape we’ve ever been in coming into Daytona.”

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Entering his 23rd edition of the Daytona 500 and 44th race overall on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway and still looking for his first career Cup win on the track (he did claim a victory in the 1998 pole shootout), Wallace gets  additional inspiration to win by looking back at the effort put forth by late friend Dale Earnhardt Sr. “Even though we’re still looking for the first win, we’ve been close and I can’t help but think back about what all Dale (Earnhardt) went through before he finally won the Daytona 500 back in ‘98,” said Wallace of his legendary racing friend who perished in a crash at the finish of the 2001 Daytona 500. “Man, for years before he finally pulled it off, he’d look like he had the thing all wrapped up and something would happen at the very  end. I’ll always remember that race (1990 Daytona 500) when he led until the third turn on the very last lap and had the tire go down. “But the bottom line is that he finally cashed in there in ’98 and that year at Daytona  will always be special in my mind,” recalled Wallace. “I really felt like he and I had the best two cars down there. We wound up snookering them really good and pulled off the win in the “shootout” the weekend before the 500. Dale came back and won his 125-mile qualifier that Thursday and we finished sixth.

“In the 500 that year, we ran with Dale all day long until the very end and we got us a top-five finish that day,” said Wallace, who finished fifth that day for his first-ever top-five finish in the event. “Dale deserved the win and he finally got it as they threw him the checkered and the yellow at the same time because of a crash on the backstretch. The crowd went  wild and everyone up and down pit road came out to congratulate Dale and the No. 3 car crew.

“Dale was riding a long winless streak going into that race and that really made his win all the more special,” Wallace said of the fact that Earnhardt’s 1998 Daytona 500 win snapped the longest victory drought of his illustrious career (59races between wins,  dating from March 10, 1996 until the Daytona win on Feb. 15, 1998). “There were a lot of tears of joy shed at Daytona that day and it was certainly a race they’ll recall forever. I know I will. “It’ll be a pretty emotional day for us, too, if and when we can finally pull it off,” said Wallace. “We had a great test in preparation for Speed Weeks  and are as optimistic as ever about our chances. With everything we’ve had going for us at Daytona in recent years and with all the positive things happening with our team lately, we’re carrying some great momentum into Daytona this time   around.”

As for that momentum, one only has to look at Wallace’s recent Daytona track record to deduce that he has certainly been close enough to be considered deserving of a win. In the 15 races held there since the 1997 Daytona 500, Wallace has recorded six topfive finishes and nine top-10 finishes, including his second-place finish in the July 2002 Pepsi 400, his best career Daytona finish to date.

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“We’re certainly poised to finally win the thing, I’d say,” Wallace said of his Larry Carter-led Miller Lite Dodge Charger Team. “But it will remain the same as always this time around as for what you have to do to get the job done. The Thursday qualifier is always a good shakedown for the 500 and with the extra laps they’ve added this year, it should be very interesting. You hope to get a good starting spot and stay up front with the lead pack to avoid the big crashes. You try to put yourself in a position to be there for the big crapshoot at the end. That’s always been the game plan and it’ll be the same story there on the 20th. We just hope we’re able to finally pull it off. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- there will be a helluva party going on if we do, I’ll guarantee you that.”

The Daytona Speed Weeks 2005 schedule features the annual “shootout” for last year’s pole winners and former event champions on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 8:10 p.m. EST, qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 1:10 p.m., the 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 1:05 p.m. and the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 2:00 p.m. The prestigious NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season-opener will feature live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

# # #

-Rusty Wallace Career Track Records-

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

(2.5 miles)

Date Event Car St Fn Laps $ Won Status

2/16/04 Daytona 500 Dodge 18 29 154/200 $245,572 Running

7/3/04 Pepsi 400 Dodge 27 27 160/160 113,158 Running

2/16/03 Daytona 500 Dodge 38 25 109/109 185,625 Running

7/5/03 Pepsi 400 Dodge 38 28 159/160 102,592 Running

2/17/02 Daytona 500 Ford 37 18 198/200 189,909 Running

7/6/02 Pepsi 400 Ford 37 2 160/160 151,350 Running

2/18/01 Daytona 500 Ford 12 3 200/200 676,224 Running

7/7/01 Pepsi 400 Ford 24 7 160/160 102,015 Running

2/20/00 Daytona 500 Ford 5 4 200/200 420,775 Running

7/1/00 Pepsi 400 Ford 12 3 160/160 88.750 Running

2/14/99 Daytona 500 Ford 10 8 200/200 199,209 Running

7/3/99 Pepsi 400 Ford 5 11 160/160 67,115 Running

2/15/98 Daytona 500 Ford 12 5 200/200 333,587 Running

10/17/98 Pepsi 400 Ford 7 5 160/160 59,175 Running

2/16/97 Daytona 500 Ford 14 41 47/200 66,605 Engine

7/5/97 Pepsi 400 Ford 6 6 160/160 40,850 Running

2/18/96 Daytona 500 Ford 43 16 200/200 60,142 Running

7/6/96 Pepsi 400 Ford 11 31 116/117 28,315 Running

2/19/95 Daytona 500 Ford 7 34 158/200 54,205 Crash

7/1/95 Pepsi 400 Ford 22 27 159/160 28,035 Running

2/20/94 Daytona 500 Ford 5 41 61/200 57,865 Crash

7/2/94 Pepsi 400 Ford 13 26 159/160 21,655 Running

2/14/93 Daytona 500 by STP Pontiac 34 32 168/200 38,600 Crash

7/3/93 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 17 18 160/160 16,870 Running

2/16/92 Daytona 500 by STP Pontiac 17 31 150/200 30,455 Running

7/4/92 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 29 9 160/160 18,325 Running

2/17/91 Daytona 500 by STP Pontiac 8 27 188/200 26,425 Crash

7/6/91 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 28 12 160/160 9,600 Running

2/18/90 Daytona 500 Pontiac 38 7 200/200 59,682 Running

7/7/90 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 25 14 158/160 17,020 Running

2/19/89 Daytona 500 Pontiac 35 18 197/200 24,790 Running

7/1/89 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 23 17 159/160 13,580 Running

2/14/88 Daytona 500 Pontiac 5 7 200/200 59,990 Running

7/2/88 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 19 12 159/160 13,940 Running

2/15/87 Daytona 500 Pontiac 32 41 10/200 15,720 Piston

7/4/87 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 6 8 160/160 15,760 Running

2/16/86 Daytona 500 Pontiac 9 8 199/200 37,840 Running

7/4/86 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 12 8 160/160 4,150 Running

2/17/85 Daytona 500 Pontiac 22 8 197/200 34,275 Running

7/4/85 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 24 41 2/160 4,100 Engine

2/19/84 Daytona 500 Pontiac 27 30 95/200 10,025 Crash

7/4/84 Pepsi 400 Pontiac 14 20 155/160 6,015 Running

2/14/82 Daytona 500 Buick 19 37 40/200 4,500 Engine

Races Wins Top-5 Top-10 Poles $$$$$

Daytona 500 22 0 3 8 0 $2,731,138

Pepsi 400 21 0 3 8 0 922,370

TOTAL 43 0 6 16 0 $3,653,508

Lap completion percentage: 6,878/7,625 = 90.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#2 Team News and Links Page On Rusty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005

Ray Cooper

Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour

Clear! Blue

PENSKE RACING SOUTH STOP

704-975-3232

ROGER PENSKE (Founder and Chairman Penske Corporation)

NOTE: Penske, who will turn 68 on Feb. 20, greeted guests of the Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour on Wednesday night at the new Penske Racing South facility in Mooresville, N.C. Penske talks about the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season and his three drivers - Rusty Wallace (No. 2  Miller Lite Dodge Charger), Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Charger) and Travis Kvapil (No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Dodge Charger).

COMMENT ON DRIVER DEVELOPMENT "As we move into the next decade we're looking at some younger drivers. We obviously can take people out of the open wheel series if necessary, but at this particular time, Ryan (Newman) is a pupil out of our ABC program - ARCA, Busch and Cup. I think we're in good shape. We haven't made a decision on who is going to replace Rusty (Wallace) next year, so that's going to be an interesting thing as we move through the current year. We've talked about  potentially running selective Busch races this year. We're not going to run a full season. I don't think it's necessary. I'd rather bring somebody up in maybe a lesser series and run some Busch and maybe some Cup races. As we look at Travis (Kvapil) this year, it was an opportunity to get somebody who's been on these types of tracks and then run some races with us and then make a decision."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RACING IN MEXICO? "We're not going from a Cup perspective. I think when you look at Canada and the United States, part of that is how important it is to your sponsors. I think we've got to be careful if we get too far off the main track because of the cost to the teams and drivers. Obviously it's a road race and maybe it gets  road racing into Busch. We did that in Japan a number of years ago when they went to Motegi. It's a development part of the series. A lot of us are saying how many races do we have to have to have a championship? We had a championship  being decided in the last 10 races on the Cup side, so I'm not a fan of it and I'm also not against it. Some good sponsors are coming out of Mexico, and I think there will be a good crowd. They're trying to find different venues in different markets, but I'm not the  person who decides the schedules."

COMMENT ON RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RUSTY AND RYAN "They've talked and they're going forward based on they've got a job to get done. These are grown men, and obviously this is an energy-charger sport. You take one night when one guy thought he could win the race and got bumped by the other one. It's just one of those things. I guess I'd rather have to grab the back of their belt than be kicking them in the butt. They've handled it, and we've got to move on to next year. It's professional. I've talked to both of them, and I think they know they've got to race hard. They might bump  into each other from time to time, but it wasn't a big deal to me. It was two guys charged up, trying to win races. At the end  of the day one didn't and something happened that kinda created a.... It's like two of your kids. I don't want to call 'em kids, but here are two young guys that decided they didn't agree with something, so it's over as far as I'm concerned."

COMMENT ON RUMORS THAT RUSTY WANTS TO FIRE RYAN "No way. If he was going to get rid or Ryan he would have gotten rid of other guys long before Ryan."

WHAT WAS THE THOUGHT PROCESS BEHIND ENORMOUS NEW SHOP? "Part of it was our Indy Car team was all under one roof, obviously not this size. We don't have to have the requirements we do in NASCAR, but I wanted the ability not to have six or seven locations. I wanted to build a shop  where everybody was in the same house. In NASCAR we've kind of grown up with the 2 shop some place and the 12 shop (somewhere else). I think in  this kind of  environment we need to cross information across the teams and not have a bunch of silos where no one really talks. At the racetrack it's too hard to get the information because so much is going on. Engineering can be more consistent. I think our body work, we're building the cars so they're the same. You look at our chassis shop, our fab shop, we have a separate we're using exclusively for our speedway cars - an area we.think we need to do a lot better in, so I just think  it'll make us a much better team. We designed it together. Every single room here was laid out by the specialist in that room whether it was the  paint shop, the fab or the chassis shop. I think we basically took a building that was sitting here. It was the Panasonic building. We had  the benefit of the footprint of a big building and yet we wanted to utilize it wisely. I think we want to build a test track on the 50 acres  outside. Those are things we want to do in the future. Being out here  (Mooresville, N.C. Industrial Park) we don't have to worry about being in town and some of the noise restrictions they have. This gives us a much better benefit for the long term. For me, it's all about the people inside, not the building."

COMMENT ON RUSTY'S LAST CALL "I think it's absolutely a smart move. He's an attractive guy. He's a smart driver. He's got a great reputation. He's one of the best I've ever had interfacing with sponsors. He's got his son coming up, and he's got other business interests. I think he saw Earnhardt, one if his good friends, you know this is a sport that has some risks, and I think Rusty can have a great season. He's not at the bottom of his game. We don't want to see him do like some other great drivers and wait until it's almost too late and then decide to close the door. I told him this. I said, 'you're doing it at the right time.' He made his decision a couple of years ago, and he stayed on track. I think it's going to be fine. I take my hat off to him. I think we're all going to see him have one of his very best seasons. I see it in his eyes. I would be disappointed if he's not (in The Chase). Being in that Chase is a tough situation with the competition like it is. There are 10 or 15 other ones who should be in there also, and that makes it so exciting, but I think Rusty has been in the top 10 for many, many years. There's no reason he can't be in the top 10. We've got great equipment. I think he's got a great crew chief in Larry Carter, and he certainly knows how to drive the car. He's got RWI with (son) Stephan coming up and the things he's doing. I told him let's not talk about what happens at the end of the season. I think we need to focus on  the 2005 Nextel Cup season and what you're going to do. If we start thinking about other things you're going to lose your focus."

WHAT WILL YOU LOOK FOR IN THE NEXT DRIVER FOR THE 2 CAR? "I've either got to take a driver who has not had the experience that Rusty's had or I've got to go out and get one of the best drivers out there. It's interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes, so we'll see."

 WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING OF YOUR THREE TEAMS THIS YEAR? "There's no question from the standpoint of Ryan and Rusty, both of them have the ability and the equipment and capability to be in the final 10. That would be minimum expectation for myself. I think Travis is a longshot. I think he's shown us a lot. I've watched him. I was on his radio the last couple of races. He's going to learn a lot in the first few races, but I think we're going to see a lot of him over time. You look at the Kurt Buschs and even Ryan, these are people no one really regarded as a superstar. I think putting  him in a good car with a good team with consistency and reliability, I think these guys are capable of making a big score."

COMMENT ON BRENDAN GAUGHAN "We didn't get the results we wanted. We had a one-year contract and ran it out. We even ran a fourth car to get some experience with Travis. Brendan at the end of the season had some pretty good runs, but we had made the decision to look elsewhere and we'll see if it was the right decision. We left on good terms. We gave him a good car. He gave it everything he had. This is a business we're looking for final performance."

WHAT DO YOU SEE RUSTY'S ROLE AS AFTER THIS SEASON? "I think the first thing we've got to do is finish this season and see what he wants to do as an individual. He has a lot of other interests. He's got his car dealerships. He's gothis son Stephen. He's got his own RWI there, and I think we'll have to wait and see. Rusty will always be a part of us one way or the other, so that's a business decision he'll make at the end of the season."

 HOW OFTEN WERE YOU AT THE NEW SHOP WHILE IT WAS BEING BUILT? "I was down here probably every week or week and a half. We spent a lot of time on this. This is one of the kind of projects you've got to be here. You've got to walk it, and we made changes every week. You sit here tonight and see things you might want to tweak. It's kind of like a setup on a car, but I think the final product, we thought about the fans first and then we thought about what we could give our technicians the environment they want. If you look at the garage they work in it's certainly nice to be able to come home and work in an environment. I'm going to use this with all of our businesses to bring our employees and many of our customers here. If you have an NFL team, you can't take them in the locker room or dugout, but we can bring 'em here. This is maybe our dugout. It makes a huge difference."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005

Ray Cooper

Daytona International Speedway

Clear!Blue

Day Three, Second Session.

 

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

"We unloaded on day 1 with two cars and one car ran a 49.70 and the other car came off the truck at a 49.50. We started working on both cars and made a decision that the faster car was faster. We've made many, many changes, a lot of aerodynamic changes, a lot of chassis setting, a lot of different things. Probably about 45 separate changes on the main car, and I'm happy to report we worked it from a 49.50 and just a little while ago we made a banzai qualifying lap and ran a 48.56. That puts us pretty strong. If you look at the qualifying attempts out there that would easily put us in the top six or seven right now with qualifying speeds. Right now we're taking that car and it's being changed completely right now to get fitted for drafting. When I go back out I'll be just doing all drafting. It took me some nervous times in not getting going to many changes and we've got it worked down to a .56. That was a clean run. There was nobody on the track in front of me and we made sure of that. That was everything we had in the truck to put in it for qualifying, all the legal things. I was real happy with that run. The guys assure me we've got some extra horsepower at home which should work the car down to about a .35. That's what I know I've got in hand. Let's see if we've got more when we get back."

WHY DO YOU WANT TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500 SO BAD?

"I haven't won the Daytona 500. I got close many, many times. I love to go into my final year knowing I've got a 500 under my belt. That would be a special feeling. What would be my ultimate thing this year would be to win the 500 and win the final race at Homestead. That would be pretty hot if I could pull it off. I can't think of anything we left unturned in two and a half days now. We've worked harder these last two and a half days, just really getting down and trying to hunt for things. There have many things in the past, and I've said there's no speed there. We've turned over everything. We did some things where the guys said, 'man, we've got to go back. We've got a lot of cars to build at Team Penske. I don't know if we can get all that done.' I said, 'look man, I want to win the Daytona 500. You'd better work 24-7 to get it done.' It's not my problem we've got three teams right now. My goal is to get the 2 car in victory lane. We just had a little conversation with the fabricators and crew chiefs. They assured me we'd get it back and get the work done. We saw the car is faster this way and they want me in victory lane as much as I want to be in victory lane."

IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU'LL RACE IN THE TRUCK SERIES?

"No, not right now.  I've learned one thing. I lay awake at night thinking about racing. I'm thinking, 'man, did I pull the trigger a year too early?' People like Roger Penske and some of my good friends say just stick with what you're doing. You're going out on top. You're very competitive. I want to go out on top. I'm not going to close the door saying that I won't do some testing for the team and try to help them. I won't close the door and say I might help my own Grand National team out a couple of times. Although that's not in the plans right now, I don't want to close the  door so I can't do it. One thing I'm very interested in that I do want to do, I do want to run the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona. I've never done that before, and it's something I do want to do. I'd like to do it in a Dodge. Right now they've got an engine that's a little  too big for that series, and they're working at trying to get the rules figured out for that right now. That's something I know I will do that in 2006."

COMMENT ON WHAT YOU'LL LOOK FOR IN THE CHARGER IN DRAFTING PRACTICE

"I'll look for basically two things. Does the car have the proper amount of downforce? Where do I need to set the front fenders? I'll be marrying the springs and shocks together to compliment that package. I'll be looking really hard at the upper grilles to make sure it doesn't trap too much debris and overheat the engine. I am concerned about that a little bit, about how far the screens are set back into the grille. I think it's an opportunity to have a problem, so we're going to work on that area and make sure the hot dog wrappers and tire debris doesn't pack up in there and make the engine overheat. It's got that look that could happen."

COMMENT ON A PENSION PROGRAM FOR CUP DRIVERS

 "This got brought up about five years ago before Dale Earnhardt died. Myself and Jeff Gordon and Dale had a nice meeting with NASCAR. They were good enough to listen to our thoughts. I think we had 10 people in that room that day and things were rolling along pretty good. Then when Dale lost his life there was so much attention and rightfully so, but the whole thing died. It was very busy year after his death,  looking at safety stuff and looking at.... It just kinda took a back burner. This will be my last full time year, and it's been brought up to me three or four times. They told me about football, and those guys have a pension plan. I don't watch other sports except NASCAR. I really haven't. I haven't had time and NASCAR's comment would be you guys are independent contractors. I understand  that, too, but I wish there was some type of pension plan. Over 21 years, I think I've been a personality and I think I've helped build this sport. I'd like to have something for it instead of all of it on me, so yeah, I'd be politicking real hard for those guys to get involved and you guys could help, too. I think we're deserving of it. Every other sport has got it. We're the only ones who don't."

HOW HAS NASCAR CHANGED?

"NASCAR has changed for the better. It's rock 'n' rolling so good you've better sign up to the fact that it's the hot thing to do. It's real easy for me, a guy that's 48 years old right now, I've seen everything in the world happen like a lot of these guys have. The points system drew all kind of excitement toward the end of the year. That was good. The only bad thing was I wasn't in it. I wish I had been in it. With me not being in it I found the focus was on those top 10 drivers. I've got to figure out how to get in the top 10. On the other hand, because some of the top teams that weren't in it didn't get therecognition, I think something's got to be adjusted so the Dale Jarretts, the Rusty Wallaces, all of Richard Childress' teams, the vernham teams, those are big sponsors and those sponsors need the coverage. We've got to figure out some way to marry all that into everything instead of just the top 10, but I've seen a lot younger kids get in right now. I've seen guys that have a lot of talent with really good racecars and engineers to help speed up that learning curve. That's new. That wasn't how it was when I started, but that's the way it is nowadays. I understand it. I wish I had had that. I maybecould have learned it quicker yet, but I like the promotional things that are going on. We can go anywhere right now and the normal race fan will recognize Rusty Wallace, whether it's in a restroom or restaurant. It's been a good ride for me, and I really enjoy it. I can't say anything negative about it. I really can't. I question a lot of decisions, just like the pension thing. Those are things outside of growing the sport. Those are just maintenance problems to take care of the people." 

HOW ARE YOU ADJUSTING TO THE HANS DEVICE?

 "I am adjusting well to it. I really am. I knew all along I needed to do it, but every time I put it on I'm so uncomfortable wearing the thing. I woke up this morning getting ready to come to the track and I had a bruise on my shoulder right around my collarbone where it's just laying on it. It's sore to touch right now, but I'm going to have to get some padding on there and get this thing adjusted where I can wear it. That's it. I want to be able to drive my guts out this year and feel safe doing it. If there's some other safety things that make sense for me, that's cool. I'm real happy that NASCAR yesterday let me, I've got a bar behind my head. It's called the rear loopbar. It comes all the way across. The bar comes  diagonal behind me. In order for me to wear the HANS, I had to slide the seat forward an inch and a half so the relief area can be left there for the HANS to clear. That's put me an inch and a half forward and the window opening for me to get in and out was closed up an inch and a half. I found myself really having a tough time getting in and out of the car. I asked Mr. Darby if he'd like me take the bar out and relocate it farther back. He said he'd never done it before but said go ahead and do it. All those little things I'm having to do to make myself feel better in that car. You can get yourself safe, have all the wraparounds,  but man, if that thing is upside down on fire you've got to be able to get out of that thing, too. I'm not going to say they did the right thing by doing that (outlawing the Hutchens device). I've been down this back straightaway end over end 23 times. I've wrecked at Talladega. I think that was a 28-time end-over-ender that put me in the hospital and the motor flew out and the body flew off. I walked out of that. I hit the wall head-on at over 200 mph at Pocono, Pa. I had a right front failure going in after running over a piece of debris. I've had some of the most horrifying wrecks in the history of NASCAR. When they tell me I'm doing it wrong I question them after surviving that many wrecks. There's been so many people that have had hard wrecks and it's been good for. I've got a lot of my peers coming up to me telling me it's OK to run this thing (HANS). So, with all the test data and soft walls, when a guy hits the wall at 200 mph and you see it bend in a foot, you've got to know that's better. I finally just signed up for it. I'm not saying the  Hutchens is bad. I think it was good, too. It's just probably not as good at taking a front impact as the new HANS is. I've got more mobility inside the car with my Hutchens. I still felt like it was a safe piece also." 

ANY THOUGHTS ON THIS BEING YOUR FINAL DAYTONA 500?

 "I think about that when I'm quiet, but when I'm on the racetrack it's the same thing - change a shock, change a spring, go fast, do this, do that. I'm always wide open thinking about the car. I've got to tell you, when I wasn't racing here and wasn't testing, it was like 'do I have this in order? What do I want to do? Do I want to do television? Do I want to be more involved with the team?' The neat thing is I've got the option to do all those things, probably. When I got to the track I didn't even think that. I wasn't thinking that at all. I was just thinking get that old hot rod running fast because I don't' want to come down here and look stupid in the Daytona 500. I want to win the damn thing. That's my  goal."

COMMENT ON CHANGES IN DIS INFIELD

 "I think all the extra eyes (fans) are great. There's two ways to look at that. If you're a driver, you think, 'man, this is good. As soon as I get out of the car....' But if you're not a driver, you're thinking 'man, this is the greatest thing in the world.' I will promise you when I'm not a driver I will promise you this is the greatest thing in the world. I'd want to get as many people surrounded around the cars and teams as I possibly can to let 'em get a feel of it, to let them really get turned on about racing, support Miller Lite and support all these sponsors I've got up and down me. If you don't connect with the fans they're just not going to do that, and I realize that. I want to do it. I got out of the car yesterday and I thought, 'self, I never thought I'd be at Daytona and have a big picture window in front of my car and a flip down door where they could stick stuff through. That was going on and I found myself getting out of the car walking up to everybody and waving at 'em. I didn't have a problem with it. If you're in a real ill mood and your car is handling like crap and you're running like crap and you're having a rough day, that might not be a fun thing to do. I've got enough of a personality that I  appreciate it when somebody stands out there and wants my autograph. It's OK with me."

 WILL YOU FEEL NOSTALGIC GOING TO SOME TRACKS FOR THE LAST TIME?

"I was telling someone the other day I'm going to have a problem not going to Bristol because I really look forward to going to that track. I've won there so much I really get excited about it. I'm going to have a tough time leaving there, and from what I hear there's going to be a lot of things the tracks are going to do for me, especially the second half of the year. That's probably going to be an emotional time then, and I'll  probably want to get in the car and win that race and really close it out on a high note. I don't know how I'm going to react to all that yet, but we'll see what happens. That last race will probably be tough, but I feel like I've really got my life in order in the car and out of the car. I think I'm pretty organized or I wouldn't have pulled the trigger and made the decision to do this."

 WOULD RUSTY WALLACE THE  CAR OWNER HIRE RUSTY WALLACE THE DRIVER?

"I would say that Rusty Wallace would be ridiculous not to hire Rusty  Wallace the driver because Rusty's got such a wealth of knowledge he's  gained his whole career. Rusty Wallace isn't old age Rusty Wallace. Rusty Wallace is on a computer 24-7 at the racetrack going through my chassis setups. I am a new age driver. I'm an older driver, but I'm new  age when it comes to all that stuff. I think I've had some great, great runs. I don't know if there's many people out therethat support thesponsors and support the sport and race fans and work as hard off the track building the sport and   taking care of all these 25 sponsors I've got on my uniforms that nobody in the world has got as many as I do. And by the way, every one of them is signed up again for three years, so yeah, I'd hire Rusty Wallace the driver."

IS THERE ANYBODY IN THE IOU CATEGORY FOR RUSTY WALLACE?

"There really is not. There's no one I would even think about 'hey I owe you one. I'm going to get you.' I would never do  that. I wouldn't want to hurt anybody. I want to go out clean. I want to go out respected. When I'm done I want my peers to  look at me and say, 'that Wallace was a hell of a driver. He was fun to drive with. He was a fun personality, a guy I like being around and if you'd give him an inch he'd take a mile.' I want all that."

 WHAT DO YOU SEE IN YOUR SON STEPHEN?

"I see a lot in him right now. I  really do. It's getting real serious with him. He ramped up real quick.  His learning in racing is wide open. I knew he was going to be excited about it. Stephen right now builds his own cars, he builds his own shocks. He sets up the car. He paints it. He drives the truck. He does all kind of things. If I told him right now if he wanted to go racing next week he'd have to do everything himself, he'd say, 'OK, no problem.' And he'd go win the race. I think when it was all said and done he had 62 Bandelero wins. We put him in the legend cars, and he did  great there. We took him out of that and put him in the short track cars. He won there. This year we upgraded him to the UARA Series  because you couldn't run NASCAR at his age. Stephen won the last four out of  five races. He won Bristol. He won Nashville. He won the rookie of the year title. He set numerous track records. He was the winningest driver and the most  poles. He said he wanted to go to Myrtle Beach (to race). I  told him we were going to run him in Hooters and I didn't want  him taking those cars down there and tear 'em up. He wanted to know if he  skipped Myrtle Beach if he could go to the Snowball Derby. I funded the  whole thing, and he worked about a month on that car. He went down there and there  were 114 guys. He qualified third and won the race. Not only  did he win the race, he led 214 laps out of 300. He was the youngest kid  in the 37-year history of the Snowball Derby to win the race that young. We're moving up to the next step  and put him in a Busch style car. He's  17, so he can't run Busch. We're putting him in the Hooters Pro Cup  Series. My old crew chief Barry Dodson, Barry is running Stephen right now. He's pretty wild still. I've got to keep a noose around his neck, and Barry is pretty good at that. They're going to be testing in  Lakeland, Fla., next week and I'm going to run him at Memphis, Tenn., in  my second Busch car, and I'm also going to run him at Phoenix, Ariz. Team Penske is looking at running him in two ARCA races this year, too. The goal is to get as much seat time as we possibly can so we can move right along. I talked to Brian Vickers father a lot about it. I asked him how he got Brian up to speed doing this, and he said it was all  about seat time. He just kept running and running, figuring everything out. There's no slowing Stephen down. There's no way to slow him down,  so that's what he's going to be, and I'm going to support him."

COMMENT ON VARIOUS RULES AT DAYTONA

"The worst rules and best rules are just an opinion. The rules we had with the gurney thing in the back and that little roof  strip, it made the cars draft so good and they run so tight. They were stuck like glue. The bad thing about it was you couldn't get away from anybody. You were bumper to bumper and it was just uncomfortable racing. It was great racing  for the fans. The comfortable racing was when you could run back four or five cars and  feel the draft and run up and pass cars. I really liked the slingshoting stuff. That happened a long time ago when the cars were dirtier and the spoilers were different and they could slingshot past somebody. That was a lot of fun. In the old times you'd follow a guy and set him up lap after lap. You'd see the guy lay back and you'd fly right past him. I like that stuff. That was pretty neat. Right now, it's pretty generic. At least we haven't changed any rules from last year to this year here. We've got a new nose design, but in the wind tunnel there's no difference whatsoever. It's a new look. It's very very close in  performance, a couple counts of drag and a couple counts of downforce. It depends on how you build the cars to the plus side or negative side, but it's very, very minimal." 

HOW DEEP SHOULD THE PENSION PLAN GO?

"I'm not going to be greedy, but I am going to say my mind. I've been out here doing this, and I think the pension plans need to start with the drivers. A lot of guys support  NASCAR, but I don't think anybody has supported NASCAR harder  than I have on the track or off the track. Anything I can do to build the sport and make it better. I think it's ridiculous we don't have one. I think it needs to happen quick, and then I think it needs to trickle down."

 COMMENT ON NEW  SAFETY INNOVATIONS

"I think the NASCAR research guys are going a great job doing what they're doing, mandating things, doing this and doing that. I think the next thing that happens will be crush zones, inside the car. I've still got a concern if you hit real hard driver's side first. What's right there along side you to act like a spring or  pillow? I think the driver's side development is the next thing we need to work on. Yeah, we've got a crush zone in the back and right front and left front, but what if you hit driver's side first? That's what could knock your lights out. The only thing that helped that is outside the car soft walls.  That really helped. I wish there was something we could do now between the driver's door bars and the door to create  some kind of zone right there."

HOW DID YOU KNOW IT WAS TIME TO QUIT?

"I don't like the word retirement because I'm not retiring. People retire when they're 65 or 70 years old. I'm 48. I knew that because so many people asked me when I was going to retire. I wish they would quit asking me that question, but they kept bringing it up. The Miller Brewing Company, I could see all the breweries are trending toward the younger people now. The brewery wanted  me to do younger things that I really didn't want to do. That was one little thing, but the other thing was I'd won a lot of races. I wanted to be on top. I didn't want to go spiraling downward. I wasn't going to do it until I felt I was able to do it. I feel like I'm able to do it now and still live a great life. The decision because wanting to go out  on top, seeing the new age things being so hot right now, and I'm not new age when it comes to that stuff. A lot of that made my decision. My wife was interested in me stopping. The comment of 'hey baby, it's time to come home.' I've heard that."

DO YOU THINK THE NEW AGE DRIVERS WILL RACE AS LONG AS YOU DID?

 "I don't think so. I don't think they'll run as long as I will. I haven't talked to Jeff, but Jeff made a comment last week  and said Rusty is going to dohis retirement tour. He's 48 and I can guarantee you one thing. I won't  be racing when I'm48. These guys are making a lot of money now. A lot  of things are happening. I feel for guys like Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison and Donnie Allison and David Pearson. Guys like that made the sport and didn't get to enjoy what we had. It was  amazing. When I started it paid $500,000 to win the championship. Then the first year I won was '89 and I won a million dollars. Now, the kid won $5.8 million last time. Who would have ever thought the sport would  come that far. I don't see 'em going that far. I really don't."

COMMENT ON POTENTIAL OF THREE WALLACES IN DAYTONA 500 FIELD

"I think that's really, really huge. I'm really excited about the opportunity for Kenny making the Daytona 500 and Mike. I've been so worried about Mike because he's such a great driver. It's amazing how he hasn't been able to hook himself up a solid, first-class ride. He's so much a better  driver than most of the guys we run with. He really is. He's an incredible talent, fearless, the whole thing. I'm glad he got this ride. He helped build that 4 Busch team and then lost that ride. That was very mind-boggling to me, but I'm glad he's got this opportunity with Morgan-McClure. I hope they get the sponsorships they need to run the whole season."

WHY DO YOU WANT TO RUN THE 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA? "

A lot of the great  drivers have run it, and I'm one of the only guys who hasn't. I'd like to put that in my record that I've done that. I want to be well-rounded and do that. I've got so many opportunities to run it. People always are trying to get  me to do it, and I just see it as another thing that takes more time and more effort leading into the Daytona 500 week. I know the  Daytona 500 is so important, and that's why I haven't done it. I got to thinking, I'm not going to be running Daytona, so I can put 100 percent focus on that, have a great time running it. Jimmy France has been wanting me to run it.  That's one reason. Dodge might get an engine for it, that's another reason. It's just something I haven't done that I want to accomplish and do. I don't know who I would even think about for a teammate. It'd be fun. I like Max Pappus a ton. It would be good to see him in there. I could see Jamie McMurray. The list goes on. I could see Ryan Newman in there. I could see Brendan Gaughan. I really love Brendan. He's a cool guy. Then again, you've got to have somebody who understands that racing to help us along. We've got to have one hotshot in there for sure."

COMMENT ON YOUR  RELATIONSHIP WITH RYAN NEWMAN

"We haven't had a conversation. I need to have a conversation with him. I think he's in a position where he's a good driver. He's doing really good. He wants things. I'm not going to say he's demanding about things, but there are some things he emphatically believes, him and his crew chief. When I put the car owner hat on, me and Penske built this thing and this is what I want. Above all, what I want is some respect. I remember when this thing was a dirt field with 20 guys  working and now it's a team bringing a lot of money in, employing a lot of people. I'm not in the mood for dealing with no respect. I felt like we've done a lot for him, and I want him to realize that, and I want him to race me like his teammate and owner, not just some other driver that he doesn't like. We've gone through all the stumbling blocks and we're working  it out. I think we're working it out amongst ourselves. We're really not saying anything, but I promise you before the Daytona 500 we'll sit down. I'll be the one to ask for the  meeting. I just don't feel like it's going to come from the other side of the camp. I'm going to do it and diffuse it all and try to get at  least this last year working together."

COMMENT ON MEXICO BUSCH RACE

"I kind of treat it the same way we did  when we went to Japan. It's kind of a fact finding mission. It's a way to bring worldwide attention to the sport of NASCAR. That's one thing. It's a Busch race. I own a Busch car, one of the best ones out there I feel. It's a race that I did not sell to Miller High Life Lite or to Topflite golf. So, I'm going to announce a new sponsor next week, a real exciting sponsor for that one single race, and I'm going to drive it.  I'm real pumped up about it. I wish I could go down there and test. I'm going to talk to Jeff (Burton). NASCAR asked me to do the test, but when they found out I was going to drive.... Jamie wanted to drive, and I said, 'no, I want to drive that one.' He's still on me everyday  to let him drive, but when NASCAR found out I was going to drive they couldn't let me test. They can't let a  driver who's going to be in the race do the test. I'll get real prepared. We'll probably go down to Cheraw, in South Carolina. I hear the track is dead flat, no hills, no nothing, where I can shake it down and learn some things about it. I want to be one of the drivers who races Mexico. It's kind of like why do I want to run the 24 hours of Daytona? Because it's something I've never done, and I want to do it. This is an opportunity to do something I've never done, and I want todo it, too. I don't know if I'll be one of the favorites. The sponsor I'm going to have is not a Mexican type of sponsor, but I feel like I'm one of the favorites. I've won a lot of road races in the past. I'm real focused on doing it. I think I've got a really great hot rod to take down there. We've cut the body off it twice already. It's going to be a real cool looking car when we get it down there, and I'll be trying to get all the information I can. NASCAR has some tight rules on that deal with the spring rate you run and the gear ratios and that type of stuff. There will be a lot of things you can't do, but to me it's kind of a fun thing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

NASCAR Preseason Thunder Day 9

No Rest for Rusty – Wallace Prepares for Final Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2005) – It’s no coincidence that Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) chose the Daytona USA attraction at Daytona International Speedway as the site to announce his “Last Call” plans for the 2005 season and beyond. The track is deeply meaningful for most drivers, and Wallace has never won a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points race at Daytona in 43 tries.

Facing his final Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, Wallace wants to finish this chapter of his career on top.

During his Aug. 30 “Last Call” retirement announcement, Wallace said he needed to come back to Daytona with the best prepared and best tested car he’s ever had.

Now, having spent three days on the track at NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing, Wallace has had time to gauge his progress – and make one final effort to fine-tune for his Daytona 500 farewell.

Wallace’s intense focus on performance has left little time to reflect on one of his final visits to Daytona as a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver.

“When I wasn’t racing and I wasn’t testing, I’ve been thinking ‘Do I want to do television?’ ” Wallace said Thursday. “ ‘Do I want to be more involved with the team? Do I want to get more involved with my car dealerships? What do I want to do?’ The neat thing is, I’ve got the option to do all those things, and I’ve been trying to line myself up for what I want to do.

“What I found out when I got to the track was, I didn’t even think that. I didn’t think about that at all. I was thinking ‘Man, I want to get that ol’ hot rod running fast.’ I don’t want to come down here and look stupid in the Daytona 500 – I want to win the damn thing. That’s my goal.”

Wallace’s team certainly made strides during this week’s testing sessions. The team’s first runs were in the range of 49.50 seconds, almost two seconds slower than Greg Biffle’s 2004 Bud Pole qualifying time of 47.774 seconds (188.387 mph). By Thursday morning, Wallace had improved his results and turned a fast lap of 48.557 seconds (185.349 mph). During Thursday afternoon’s session, in which the drivers simulated race conditions by drafting in close packs, Wallace was the third-fastest driver at 47.890 seconds (187.931 mph).

“It’s been a good test,” Wallace said. “We’ve made many, many changes. A lot of aerodynamic changes; a lot of chassis settings – probably about 45 separate changes on the main car.”

In 22 previous attempts, Wallace’s best Daytona 500 finish came in 2001, when he finished third. In the Pepsi 400 in July, Wallace hasn’t fared better than fifth.

“I haven’t won the Daytona 500,” Wallace said “I’ve gotten close many times and I’d love to go into my final year knowing I got a ‘500’ win under my belt. That’d be a special feeling. We’ve worked hard for these last two and a half days, just really getting down and trying to hunt for things.”

NEWS OF NOTE

Blaney offers fans’ perspective, looks ahead to ‘05 ... The all-new FanZone at Daytona International Speedway, which offers fans an inside glimpse, literally, into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage through windows, inspection viewing and rooftop observation areas, has drawn a lot of attention as drivers adjust to life behind glass. Dave Blaney (No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet), himself a short track owner (Sharon Speedway in Sharon, Pa.), knows the benefits the sport can gain by catering to its biggest supporters.

“I’ve owned a dirt track for two or three years now,” Blaney said. “That teaches you that anything you can do for the fans comes back to you big time. I think the fans really appreciate things like that. It gives them more access to the sport and more access to the people. The drivers and crews – we’ll get used to it. It’s part of our sport.”

Blaney will make his debut in the Richard Childress Racing-owned No. 07 Chevrolet, with first-year sponsor Jack Daniel’s on board. “It’s really great to have (crew chief) Philippe (Lopez) and it’s great to be with Jack Daniel’s and RCR,” Blaney said. “What a group. To be in the middle of RCR, our team feels good. To have Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) and Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) to work with is a big thing for me. Traditionally, the RCR cars have drafted great here [at Daytona]. They always go to the front in the race.”

Sophomore Streak? Brian Vickers better prepared for ‘05 … After winning the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series championship, Brian Vickers (No. 25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet) arrived at Daytona with high hopes – and left with a disappointing 39th-place finish in the 2004 Daytona 500. This season, Vickers says he’s more prepared for the challenge that Daytona and the complete NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule represents.

“It’s completely different this year,” Vickers told media at Daytona. “You learn so much after a year. Last year, there were a lot of unknowns. I thought it wouldn’t be that much different than the NASCAR Busch Series. But, there were a lot of differences. I’ve approached this year in so many different ways, on how to do my schedule and how I spend my off-season. I already don’t feel as tired going in to Daytona as I did last year. Last year I felt wore out already because I wasn’t as prepared for certain things, but now I am. I’m really excited and looking forward to 2005 after having one year under my belt.”

Class in session for DEI’s Ryan Moore … NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series standout Ryan Moore, who will participate in a NASCAR Busch Series driver development program for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2005, spent the week in Daytona Beach with the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team of Martin Truex Jr. Moore was on hand to learn from Truex during the test sessions. Truex, the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series champion, will attempt to qualify for his first Daytona 500 this year.

Trying something different … At NASCAR Preseason Thunder, each team is equipped with two race cars, often labeled as “A” and “B”. Naturally, the different cars provide each team an opportunity to try different chassis setups to test new ways of improving speed and power when championship points or qualifying positions aren’t on the line. Looking at the speed charts, it’s clear which ideas have worked – and which didn’t. In Thursday morning’s session, for example, Kasey Kahne (No. 9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge) topped the charts with a lap time of 47.850 seconds (188.088 mph) in his No. 9B Dodge. In the 9A, Kahne was 26th fastest, at 48.716 seconds (184.744 mph). Jeff Burton was fourth fastest in the morning in No. 31, with a fast lap of 48.021 seconds (187.418 mph). In No. 31A, Burton was 34th fastest out of 36 cars, at 49.200 seconds (182.927 mph).

Thursday’s fastest driver … Martin Truex Jr.’s prospects for his first Daytona 500 are looking up. Truex was the fastest driver overall during the Jan. 20 test session at Daytona. In the final afternoon session, Truex paced the 2.5-mile track in 47.670 seconds (188.798 mph).

Up Next: NASCAR Busch Series teams to Daytona … NASCAR Preseason Thunder continues Feb. 22-24 at Daytona, with the NASCAR Busch Series teams taking their turn on Daytona’s high banks. Each day’s test session runs from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with drivers available to the media during each day’s lunch break from 12-1 p.m. More than 40 teams are signed up to attend the three-day test session.

On Saturday, Jan. 22, fans who purchase a FanFest ticket can watch testing from the FanZone during the day. FanFest begins at 5 p.m. with bands, pit stop demonstrations, auctions and fan forums with NASCAR Busch Series drivers. Admission to the NASCAR Busch Series edition of FanFest is $10 and the proceeds will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp, The Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports and American Red Cross for tsunami relief. More FanFest information is available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

High-resolution photos from NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway are available for download online at http://www.nascarmedia.com.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Preseason Thunder.

Where: Daytona International Speedway.

When: Jan. 11-24.

Track layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway.

Test schedule:  Jan. 22-24 – NASCAR Busch Series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

CREW CHIEF LARRY CARTER LOOKING FOR MORE SUCCESS IN 2005

-After Earning First Win And Much Respect In 2004, Carter Has High Expectations For  This Season-

 

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 9) -- It took only eight races for veteran crew chief Larry Carter to lead Rusty Wallace’s Miller Lite Dodge effort back to the winner’s circle. Even though it would be the lone victory for Wallace, Carter and crew, the entire team is convinced that the 2004 campaign established the groundwork for more expected success during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.

 

“It was an exciting season for us in 2004 and it was definitely a learning year for me as Rusty’s crew chief and for all of us getting the team chemistry flowing,” said Carter, whose win last April at Martinsville led to his first Victory Lane visit after 15 years in NASCAR racing’s highest level of competition. “We all really got to know and understand each other really well last year and I think we enjoy a level of communication that many teams don’t have even after working together for several years. I’m convinced that we’ve laid the foundation to come back and maybe even surprise people with our team’s strength in 2005.

 

“Rusty is one of the greatest drivers to ever compete in our sport and it’s been such a pleasure working with him and all the guys on our team,” said Carter, a 42-year-old Raleigh, N.C., native. “We have become super teammates during the 2004 season and our respect for each other couldn’t be any greater. And to make the situation even better is the fact that we’re all good friends off the track and really enjoy being around each other.

 

“Rusty announced last August that the 2005 season will be his last as a driver and we’re determined to help him go out in style and in a blaze of glory,” said Carter, a 1985 graduate of North Carolina State University. “We were able to get him back in winner’s circle last year and get the team’s competitiveness up week in and week out. We were a great deal stronger as a team than our finish in the points showed. We’re convinced that we can win races and be a big threat in the points during the 2005 season. Like I’ve told all the members of our team, we just have to keep headed in the right direction and keep on working as hard as we can. To be successful out there today, you have to be relentless. Everybody

on our team, from Rusty on down, has the attitude that the most important race of the year is the very next one on the schedule. With that kind of continued dedication, you can understand that we all have great expectations about what the 2005 season holds.”

 

Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR premier series champion and a 55-race winner after the April Martinsville win, has nothing but praise for Carter’s team leadership.

 

“Larry Carter has shown that he is among the very best crew chiefs in the business and I am so proud to have him as the leader of our team,” said Wallace, who snapped a personal record 105-race winless streak with the popular Martinsville return to Victory Lane. “Larry brought to the team the type of leadership we needed and really helped to put our team back on the map.

 

“During the last few years, we had all kinds of problems and quite honestly, it wasn’t a very fun work environment to be in,” said Wallace. “Our good pit stops had gotten so sporadic that I actually told some folks that I didn’t know what to expect next. It certainly wasn’t a good feeling to be racing your guts out and not have the consistency in the pits that we needed.

 

“I told a lot of people during the 2004 season that Larry reminded me so much of

Buddy Parrott, our crew chief back during the early 90s who led our team to a ton of success. Larry has the same leadership qualities as Buddy did back then and those two guys seem to even have the exact same demeanor in almost every way I can think of. They’re big guys with a big heart. Larry can walk into a room and his sheer presence just demands your respect.

 

“Larry came in at the first of the season and promised me that he’d get the pit crew problem fixed and he did just that,” Wallace continued. “He practically started from scratch and rebuilt our over-the-wall gang. About a quarter of the way through the season, he had his knew lineup out there and things really started clicking. By the end of the year, we had a level of consistency we’d been missing forever it seemed. The guys were lightning fast and I’d be willing to bet they were among the top-five fastest week in and week out.

 

“Many of the team members actually came to me during the season and told me how much they enjoyed working for Larry. They said that he had come in there  and turned it around to the point that they really loved their jobs and that it was fun again. They loved working with him and wanted to work even harder in order to get the team back on top again. That speaks volumes when you have so many unsolicited from-the-heart comments like that.

 

“At the end of the season, I think we had a much better team than you could tell from our record,” Wallace offered. “We finished 16th in the points, but I honestly thought we had improved to be a top-10 caliber team once again. We did get the one win and some top fives and top 10s. But the fact is that we showed so much more potential than that. Our team was back to being a potential winner almost every time they lined us up and threw the green flag. At the end of the year, we just didn’t have all the big numbers to show how strong we had been.

 

“The big thing is that we had all the right personnel in there and everyone is clicking together so well. Larry is such a good leader and when you throw such talented guys as our car chief Jeff Thousand, our shock guy Tom Hoke and our engineer Derek Stam ets, along with all the other super guys we have working with us now – it really is an exciting time for our No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team and it’s gonna’ get even better, we all feel.

“We won that race at Martinsville last April and along with it came one of those big old grandfather clocks that they give the winners,” said Wallace. “It was Larry’s first career win as a crew chief, so Patti and I decided to surprise him by delivering it over to his house as a gift the night after the race. The way that I look at it is that the 2005 season offers us a ton of opportunities to win more races. With Larry up there running the ship, he’s gonna’ have a bunch of wins under his belt before I hang up my helmet for good at the end of the season.”

 

Carter came to Penske Racing South from BACE Motorsports, where he served as crew chief for rookie driver Tony Raines during the 2003 NASCAR season.

 

The jovial Carter was active in motorsports at an early age, working part-time for  a local dirt track team while in junior high school. After receiving his college degree at NCSU, Carter worked for a Raleigh government agency for several years and worked part-time for his uncle Travis Carter, a fixture in NASCAR racing for decades. He became a full-time racer in 1990 and first served as a crew chief for the elder Carter’s effort in 1994.

 

“Travis was so instrumental in my career and he’s due a lot of credit for me getting an opportunity to get to this point in my career,” said Carter. “I am really looking forward to the 2005 season and hope to help add another chapter to Rusty’s successful career. One thing’s for sure if you know me and that’s the fact that we’ll have a lot of fun along the way, I can guarantee you that.”

# # #

 

LARRY CARTER, Crew Chief

 

Date of Birth: Sept. 21, 1962                         Height/Weight: 6’2/230lbs

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.                              Marital Status: Tracy

Children: Benjamin

 

A 15-year veteran in NASCAR racing’s highest level of competition, Carter joined Miller Lite Team Penske in 2004 as the team’s crew chief. He came to Penske Racing South from BACE Motorsports, where Carter served as crew chief for driver Tony Raines during the 2003 season. Carter became active in motorsports at an early age. He worked part-time for a local dirt track team while in junior high school. After receiving a degree from North Carolina State in 1985, Carter worked for a Raleigh government agency for several years and worked part-time for his uncle Travis Carter. He became a full-time racer in 1990 and first served as a crew chief for the elder Carter’s effort in 1999.