It's A Photo-Finish For Mike Wallace At Pikes Peak
Mike Wallace, #2 Team ASE Racing Ford F-150: (Started 16 th , Finished first) "I thought that he (Jack Sprague) stole the race from us. We were about ready to go a lap down early. The truck was handling terribly and pushing terribly. The guys did a great job. They made a right rear spring change and right side tires and then I just drove my butt off. I wanted to race him for the finish. Timmy (Kohuth) told me that he'd be loose on me. For the people that don't know, we won a Winston West race earlier today and then turned around and won this one in dramatic fashion. We got a tough team. We got into a bickering match yesterday afternoon, but today we got tough. The Ford F-150 hauled all day long. We won a big one here today baby. That was racing."
QUOTES FROM POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE:
Mike Wallace : "It was a great day for us today. I think that any time you get a win in the fashion that we won it in is fantastic. Early in the race we were about three seconds from going a lap down. The truck drove just terribly and Timmy (Kohuth, crew chief) told me that if we got a caution, we could adjust it to make it right. You know how us drivers sometimes freak out in the truck and run our mouths more than we should. I told Timmy to make big changes, we needed a big change. We started off the day and went forward and then backed up and backed up. When everybody else first pitted we put on left-side tires while most of the others put on rights. Then we were able to come in and out on our rights and make the right-rear spring adjustment on the truck and the thing just came to life. It stood up on the right rear and loved to turn. This is the type of track where the truck can be really tight all day long. Trucks continue to get tighter and tighter in the corners. You have to get your truc
k free enough to turn. From that point on the day went really good. Up until the final caution with about 10 laps to go, I thought that we just handed Jack (Sprague) the win. He had the field a lap down and they did what they needed to do by coming in late and put on left side tires. I couldn't believe it when that final caution came out. I was thinking that I needed two laps and if he beat me than he beat me, if he doesn't well at least we have a shot. It wasn't handed to him and it wasn't a fuel mileage deal. He had a good run off of turn two and I did too but he didn't run me down on the back straightaway. He had a good line to run onto the corner and as soon as I saw him get down there I checked up on the gas and got on the brake and got the front of my truck to turn and I saw him go up the track. I tried to feed the gas without breaking the tires loose and it was just enough to get by him. It was a great day for the Ford F-150, Team ASE and all of our supporters. It was nice to win this race i
n that fashion. You know that Jack and I raced in Memphis last week and I ended up against the fence with the misfortune of that deal. To beat him and not rub or touch fenders, it made it a great finish for us and it made a statement about our ability." DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WON WHEN YOU CROSSED THE FIINSH LINE? "Yeah I did. I knew that we were far enough ahead. I told the guys after I'd gotten about three or four inches past the finish line that we'd won. It's good for the fans and for the series to see a nice, tight race. At least we were able to bring something at the end. We made up three laps today to win two races (Wallace won the Winston West race prior to the NCTS race) and that's pretty impressive. We had the racing gods and a lot of luck with us today. I'd rather have that than be good any day."
Kevin Harvick, #98 Porter-Cable Power Tools Ford F-150: (Started second, Finished third) "The Porter Cable Ford was awesome again this weekend. What can I say about Roland Wlodyka (crew chief)? The truck unloaded awesome again. The team did an outstanding job this weekend. We had one bad pit stop today. But we rebounded with two great stops. We'll take these second- and third- place finishes as long as we can keep collecting points. We'll keep ourselves in good position. We had the best truck there at the end. If we had three or four more laps, we would have moved up. But you never know what will happen at the end. "
Greg Biffle, #50 Grainger Ford F-150 : (Started fourth, Finished 14th) "Our Grainger Ford F-150 would have done a lot better but I broke the transmission on the second restart and it vibrated really bad the rest of the day. We only had high gears. Then finally on the last stop, I broke some more gears so all that I had was fourth gear. It couldn't get going. We just gave it away. I know that we had the best truck here by far. I was out there just cruising. The green flag pit stop had to come and I knew that Kevin (Harvick) was strong too. I was just happy where I was. I knew that the longer we ran, the better our tires would be at the end. I stated to think that we had better come in on a green and then I saw the #98 slowing down to come in so I knew that we had to come with him. After our stop I just tried to ease it away in first gear and it just broke."
Mike Bliss, #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150 : (Started first, Finished 15th) "We just got a little loose during the day. I couldn't get on the gas and couldn't drive in. It was not a good day. It was a case of missing the set-up. Our truck was just not good enough for the long runs."
Rick Crawford, #14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150: (Started 22 nd , Finished eighth) "It's not too bad of a finish. I had a disappointing qualifying run yesterday, but today we did okay. My hats off to George Church and the whole Circle Bar Motel and RV Park race team. Thanks to Tom Mitchell for letting me put this whole deal together. That is where this truck needed to be all year - in the top 10. We came from 22 nd into the top 10. I think that if' we hadn't come in for the one extra pit stop to change the flat tire, we might have run in the top five. But that extra stop did save the truck and probably saved me too. You have to crawl before you can walk and we've been knocked out the last couple of weeks so this finish will let us start crawling again. We're going on to some tracks that I really like and we'll get back to Texas pretty soon too."
Kevin Cywinski, #31 Auto Trim Design Ford F-150 : (Started 19 th , Finished 12th) "It was a pretty uneventful day. We started in 19 th and worked our way up to 12 th . We had a pretty good truck all day. The crew did an awesome job and got the Ford F-150 out really well in pit stops. We just waited too long to pit at the end. We were hoping for a caution when Jack (Sprague) was starting to lap the field. We just fell short. I think we pitted and the yellow came out something like three laps later. That really messed us up. We'll live and learn. That's the way it works sometimes."
Ron Barfield, #55 Icehouse Beer Ford F-150 : (Started 14 th , Finished seventh) "I'll tell you it was a tough day. Our guys worked their butts off. We started out the race and all of a sudden headed to the back of the field. It was the loosest truck I've ever driven. The truck completely changed from the last practice round. Yesterday after qualifying, we went out and the truck was a little loose and we started the race on that same set. But we started going to the rear! And then we got in on our second and got the left side tires off of it and the truck went from being instantly loose to pushing like a freight train. We knew that it was a bad set of tires. So we had to come back down pit road and get all the whines out of it that we started with. After that we had a good truck. We had to come from so far back. The guys just never gave up. This Icehouse team is one hell of a race team. To take a bad day and make a good day out of it is what you have to do to win a championsh
ip. I'm just tickled to death for my guys."
Mike Stefanik, #66 Carlin Burners & Controls Ford F-150: (Started 18 th , Finished 11th) "Our learning curve is getting much more comfortable. We would have like to get into the top 10. We ran with Mike Wallace for a while and him and I swapped there early and we were give and take. We made an adjustment on the truck that I called for to loosen up the truck, and that was a thorn on our side for that long run. We got really loose. We still had a respectable run. We're working on our whole program and there are still a lot of things that we can work on to be consistently nipping on the top 10 week after week. That means that down the line here we'll be in the top 10 more often and not running way out. We beat some good trucks today and those are the guys that I want to beat. I'm really happy getting out of here with the truck in one piece. We can take this truck back to the shop and work on and make better. We're still learning as a group."
Tim Steele, #21 HS Die & Engineering/Softech Ford F-150: (Started 23 rd , Finished 13th) "I'm happy with our finish. We had our best run of the year so far. We're finally starting to get this program sorted out. The guys did a great job today, I was able to move up 10 spots so we definitely did something right." ....
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