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NASCAR WCUP: Kenny Wallace Pre Race Notes, Daytona 500

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel

(ON GETTING A NEW LEASE ON LIFE AFTER QUALIFYING FOR THE DAYTONA 500) "It feels good to be against all odds and come out fighting like we have. It puts a stamp on why I came to this team. Whatever happens from here on out remains to be seen and that's with any race team. But being able to race our way into the Daytona 500 with no sponsor on the car and having everybody realize that, 'Hey, that car is fast,' that's all I was looking for. It's a big load off my shoulders. Hopefully four or eight races down the road we'll have earned the right to be known as one of the teams to compete with."

(ON THIS TEAM FINALLY GETTING TO RACE WITH A VETERAN DRIVER) "All I can say is that every time I looked at this race car (last year) it had good equipment and it was always fast. It always had a problem making it to the end of the race. That's the key point right there. Sometimes people don't want to see the whole movie. They just want to see what they want to see. That's the reason I came to this car because the car always had speed, but it was always wrecking. Well, I'm going to try like hell to keep the car fast, but to keep it between the walls. I think if I do that, we'll be one of the boys. That's what I'm looking at. I'm looking at this car being a great race car and having a shot to be one of the new cars that mixes the cherry cart up."

(WHAT RESULT WILL SATISFY YOU ON SUNDAY?) "Obviously, anybody that tells you that their goal is not to win is an idiot and shouldn't be here. Obviously, our goal is to win. But, I don't think that is our first goal. Our first goal is to come out of here with a shot at winning the race, being competitive. If we're sitting there leading or we're running in the top five and towards the end we get shuffled back to 20th, we'll bite the bullet and go on, and say, 'Man, we raced hard all day long. We were there.' "All you can ask for is a shot at the win. At the end of the day at the Daytona 500, if we can talk about when we were up in the lead pack, and either we won, or we finished fourth or we finished 19th, that's what we're looking for. What we don't want to have happen is that we get a lap down because we ran bad and things like that.

"Our goal is to come out of here with a top 10 run. But I can tell you this: we'd be very content with a top 20 finish - just get out of here with a good 100 and something points."

(ARE WE OVERDUE FOR "THE BIG WRECK?") "I've been kind of thinking the same thing. The '125s' were wild and practice on Friday was wild, but I think we're all just realizing that these cars are capable of running three-wide now. We'll be sitting there two-wide and somebody will shoot up there in the middle and it aggravates me. It makes me mad. I'm like, 'Why are you doing that?' But the cars are doing it. When the tires get worn out you can't do that stuff and I hope everybody realizes that. When the tires get worn out we've got to stay two-wide. We can't get three-wide. But I think as long as we all realize that, then we should be OK.

"If 'The Big One' does happen, I just hope I'm not in it."

(ON THE FUTURE OF THE TEAM) "The future is bright. There is a lot of good stuff going on, just like I've always said. But it's like anything. Everybody was wondering if we were even going to be in the race. We've answered that now. We've got one more hurdle, and hopefully real soon here, we'll take the care of that."

Text Provided by Al Larsen

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.