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NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 Report: #46, Wally Dallenbach

5 August 1997

 #46 Wally Dallenbach, First Union Chevrolet Monte Carlo  
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Race Report
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 August 2, 1997


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - What could have been. 

First Union Corporation and Team SABCO had race fans seeing green with their
dominating presence during NASCAR's largest-attended race of the season - 
Saturday's Brickyard 400. First Union driver Wally Dallenbach Jr. and his Brad
Noffsinger-led crew arrived with a "perfect" race machine, laid all their
cards on the table, used smart pit strategy and ran up-front (leading 14 laps)
as a legitimate contender to possibly win in front of more than 350,000
NASCAR-frenzied spectators at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But 
an electrical problem under the hood late in the race slammed the door on the
team who all weekend long was making heads turn. 

"We were in the right position to win this thing," said a disappointed but
clearly excited Dallenbach, seconds after emerging from the No. 46 Chevrolet.
"The First Union Chevrolet Monte Carlo was awesome. We did the right thing on
pit strategy but we just didn't make it to the end. You couldn't ask for a
better car. We had the electrical problem and I'm not sure what caused it.
Before that, everything was great. The car was great...the motor was great...I
was getting a little hot inside and we fixed that problem during one of the
pit stops. We were just going to ride it to the end and check the finishing
order. All we had to do was conserve fuel and we were going to win our first
race for First Union.

"It's so cool to lead at Indianapolis. This place is very special to me and
I'm going to win one of these yet. We've come so far in the few races we've
been together. From being a part-time team to a legitimate up-front contender
in qualifying, then backing it up in a race is just awesome. I've never been
with a group of guys like this before. They know what it takes to win."

Dallenbach started Indy week with the same car that had tested third-fastest
(unofficially) overall two weeks ago. And he never wavered. Throughout all
practice sessions, Dallenbach was usually no worse than third in standings in
lap speeds among the 51 entries. His only real disappointment before the race
was qualifying 14th on a lap he'd like to have back.  

"It just wasn't a good lap or a good time for a good lap," Dallenbach said.
"(The track) was really getting hot and the car was sliding all over the
place." Still, he was 14th while some NASCAR points leaders were struggling in
the back just to make the top-38 lock ins.

On lap 18, during the event's second caution, Dallenbach was one of only eight
cars to head for the pits for two tires and fuel. It was a gamble that took
the team out of the normal pit sequence--but could have paid huge dividends if
the other drivers (who did not pit on lap 18) were needing fuel near the end
of the 160-lap event. If the race stayed caution-free for most of its
remainder, Dallenbach, with the ease in which the car was moving through
traffic and passing cars--even the eventual race winner--would certainly be
looking for a drive to victory circle. When the majority of the cars headed
for the pits, it was Dallenbach who was back up front. The gamble would have
paid off at the end according to team members. But on lap 120, after sensing
possible victory, the motor lost electrical power ending the day for the First
Union team. Its possible cause was still being looked at on Monday.

Next up is the place that has become synonymous with the Dallenbach name and
"almost"--the 2.45-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen (N.Y.) road course. The Glen
is the place where Dallenbach finished second to winner Mark Martin in both
1993 and 1995. With his new Team SABCO equipment, Dallenbach said he expects
to continue to ride the crest of his team's recent performance wave.
Sunday's Budweiser at the Glen will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1
p.m. EDT. Friday's first-round qualifying will be televised live on ESPN2
beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

By Team SABCO Public Relations