RUSTY WALLACE RACING NEWS AND NOTES: DAYTONA I

 

THE EVENT: DRIVE4COPD 300
Round One of 35 in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series

VENUE:   Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile paved oval)

DATE / TIME:   Saturday, 13 February 2010 / 1:15 PM ET

DISTANCE:   120 Laps / 300 Miles

TV / RADIO:   ESPN2 (Live at 12:00 PM ET) / MRN, Sirius NASCAR Radio (Live)

NO. 66 DRIVER / CAR:   Steve Wallace / No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry

NO. 62 DRIVER / CAR:   Brendan Gaughan / No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry
 

RUSTY WALLACE RACING AT THE WORLD CENTER OF RACING

RWR AT DAYTONA:  As a car owner, Rusty Wallace owns two   career poles in the February Nationwide Series event at Daytona—in 1985 while driving his own car (his NNS debut, both as a driver and a car owner) and in 1989 with brother, Kenny behind the wheel.  Steve Wallace enters this weekend seeking to become the third Wallace family member to accomplish the feat as a driver...In RWR’s brief history, Rusty Wallace-owned cars have scored a total of one top-five and five top-ten finishes at Daytona.  The team’s most recent top-ten finish (eighth) came with driver David Stremme in 2008...Steve Wallace’s 12th-place finish in July was RWR’s best at Daytona in 2010.

STEVE WALLACE AT DAYTONA:  Wallace’s best Daytona finish came in the most recent event (July 2009) at the 2.5-mile speedway.  During that event, Wallace ran among the top-ten and despite suffering damage fought back for a 12th-place finish...In last February’s race, Wallace seemed poised to capture a solid finish until being taken out by Jason Leffler in a bizarre accident that saw NASCAR serve Leffler with a rough-driving penalty.

BRENDAN GAUGHAN AT DAYTONA:  Gaughan scored a top-15 finish in last year’s running of this event—his first race with RWR and his NNS debut...His best overall Daytona finish—tenth—came in the February 2003 Truck Series event...Brendan’s Daytona record also includes a pair of NSCS starts, highlighted by a top-20 finish in the 2004 Daytona 500 for Penske Racing...His 2004 NSCS season also saw one top-five and two top-15 finishes in the restrictor plate races at Talladega—including his overall NSCS career-best fourth-place finish.


RUSTY WALLACE RACING—KEY UPGRADES FOR 2010

MANUFACTURER CHANGE, FROM CHEVROLET, TO FACTORY TOYOTA SUPPORT—Support from Toyota Racing Development marks a dramatic increase in the level of manufacturer technical support and involvement provided to the team.

TECHNICAL ALLIANCE WITH JOE GIBBS RACING—Alignment with 2009 Nationwide Series champions speeds up learning curve in manufacturer change, helps team develop the aerodynamics of its Toyota Camrys

STRONG SPONSORSHIP PARTNERS—Partnership with America’s number one energy shot gives team stable financial backing, increased promotion and alignment with one of the country’s hottest brands.  Meanwhile, the venerable South Point returns for its second season as sponsor of Gaughan’s No. 62 entry.

SCOTT MCDOUGALL AS NO. 66 CREW CHIEF—One of the Nationwide Series’ top race engineers, McDougall has brought an engineering focus to the team which it has not previously possessed.  Under McDougall’s leadership, the team has quickly undergone a number of technical improvements, such as a much greater standardization of its car fleet.

BRAD PARROTT AS NO. 62 CREW CHIEF—One of the most colorful—and winningest—crew chiefs in recent Nationwide Series history, Parrott brings a wealth of veteran knowledge and experience to RWR.  Parrott’s father, legendary crew chief, Buddy Parrott, will serve as spotter for the No. 62 team in select 2010 events, beginning with Daytona.

ENGINE PARTNERSHIP WITH TRIAD RACING TECHNOLOGIES—In 2010, RWR will enjoy strong and reliable horsepower from one of the leading Toyota engine builders in the Nationwide Series.

INCREASED ENGINEERING FOCUS—In addition to Scott McDougall’s engineering guidance, Parrott’s appointment shifts former interim No. 62 crew chief, Dale Ferguson, back into a full-time engineering role with the team.  This, combined with increased engineering support from Toyota Racing Development and an increase in the team’s in-house engineering staff, marks a change from the team’s traditional philosophy.

DRIVERS MORE SEASONED AND EXPERIENCED—With each and every season, driver Steve Wallace has come closer and closer to reaching the potential which he has flashed throughout his career.  The 2009 season—Wallace’s third full year in the Nationwide Series—marked his career bests in almost every key statistical category.  With that performance, Wallace started establishing himself as a consistent top-ten contender and now, in 2010, he looks to consistently contend for Victory Lane.  Meanwhile, teammate Brendan Gaughan finished ninth in the 2009 standings during only his first season in the series.  With a full year of Nationwide experience now under his belt, Gaughan is set on putting his No. 62 Toyota in front of the field in 2010.


MORE STORYLINES

GAUGHAN AND COMPANY BACK IN BLACK—Like in 2009, Brendan Gaughan’s No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry will again sport a paint scheme reminiscent of Rusty Wallace’s famed No. 2 from the early 1990’s.  However, this year, the throwback concept gets more authentic, as three members of the No. 2 team from that era are now on Gaughan’s No. 62 team.  Former No. 2 tire specialist, Brad Parrott is Gaughan’s crew chief, while former No. 2 crew chief, Buddy Parrott is the spotter for the No. 62.  The venerable Mark “Hollywood” Armstrong is RWR’s pit crew coach and tire changer for Gaughan’s teammate, Steve Wallace.

WELCOME ABOARD—RWR and 5-Hour Energy are proud to welcome Winn-Dixie to their family of partners.  Winn-Dixie will be featured on the television panel of Wallace’s No. 66 for this weekend’s event.

ON THE AIR—Look for Steve Wallace to be featured in a new television spot promoting a NASCAR league partner at the start of this weekend’s race telecast.
 

CHASSIS INFORMATION

NO. 66—STEVE WALLACE:  Wallace’s primary chassis for this weekend is RWR-029.  Chassis 029 was last driven by Brendan Gaughan to a top-15 finish in last year’s running of this event.  The 29 car is the first of the RWR fleet to feature a body developed through RWR’s partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.  It has two other prior starts, including a top-15 finish at Daytona in July 2008, with Wallace at the helm...Wallace’s backup car is RWR-039, a former DEI car raced by Martin Truex, Jr.  Car 039’s RWR debut came with Wallace in last year’s February Daytona event.  In that event, Wallace ran among the top-ten before being taken out in a bizarre accident with Jason Leffler, which resulted in Leffler being penalized by NASCAR.  The 39 car rebounded at Daytona in July, when despite suffering damage, Wallace wheeled the car to a 12th–place effort.

NO. 62—BRENDAN GAUGHAN:  Brendan Gaughan’s primary car for this weekend is the venerable RWR-009, the elder statesman of the RWR fleet.  The “nine car” also features a body developed in partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.  It has six prior starts, including a top-ten at Daytona in July 2008, with David Stremme aboard.  009 served as Wallace’s backup for all three 2009 restrictor plate events...Gaughan’s backup is RWR-019, last raced by Gaughan last year at Talladega and the July Daytona event.  It has one other start, with Wallace in the 2008 running of this event.
 

THE WHEELMEN SPEAK

STEVE WALLACE (NO. 66 5-HOUR ENERGY TOYOTA CAMRY) ON DANICA PATRICK:  “I think Danica racing in our series is a good thing—it just brings more attention to our teams and our sponsors, like 5-Hour Energy.  She’s seems to be a pretty nice person and obviously has some talent as a race car driver—my dad co-drove with her in the Rolex 24 a few years ago and while I haven’t spoken to her much, I did talk to her a little bit in a meeting earlier this week.  So, just like a lot of other guys have said, if she asks for help, I’ll be glad to help her.  But I’ll tell you right now that I’m not cutting her any breaks; I want to beat her just as much as I want to beat everyone else in the field.  My team and my sponsors deserve that.  As far as racing around her, I think you might see some guys giving her a lot of room and being hesitant to draft with her—just like they would with any rookie.  When it gets to the end of the race though, if she has a good enough car to run up front and push other cars—which she should—that’ll probably change.

STEVE WALLACE (NO. 66 5-HOUR ENERGY TOYOTA CAMRY) ON HIS TEAM AND THE DAYTONA EVENT:  “Man, I’m always excited to get to the racetrack, but never quite this much.  It’s Daytona, so you’re always up when you go there just because of that.  But I’ll tell you what, we’ve made a lot of improvements to our program over the winter and our cars have never looked this good heading into the.  We get a ton of support from Toyota and have the smartest and most experienced people we’ve ever had working on our cars this year.  I’m ready to get out there and get our 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry out front on Saturday.  There’d be no better place to get my first Nationwide Series win than at Daytona; that’d be really sweet and I really think we have a program that can make it happen.”
 
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (NO. 62 SOUTH POINT HOTEL & CASINO TOYOTA CAMRY) ON HIS TEAM AND THE DAYTONA EVENT:  “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back with this team again this year.  We’ve made an incredible amount of progress in the off-season and we’re going to win some races in 2010; I just hope that it starts this weekend with the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry in Victory Lane at Daytona.  People keep saying that Nationwide-only teams can’t compete with the Nationwide programs from Cup teams.   It’s our mission this year to prove every single one of those people wrong.  As far as this weekend specifically, I love restrictor plate racing and have had some of my very best runs at the plate tracks.  We should have easily had a top-ten in this race last year, but we just got shuffled out of line in the last couple of laps.  We have a lot better cars and better people this year, so as long as the driver does his part, I think we’ve got as good of a shot as anyone to be up front at the end.”


ABOUT RUSTY WALLACE RACING, LLC

U.S.-based Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) is a professional auto racing team steeped in the legendary history of its founder and one of NASCAR’s top-ten drivers of all-time, Rusty Wallace.  The organization currently campaigns the No. 66 and No. 62 Toyota Camrys in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, piloted by Steve Wallace and Brendan Gaughan.  In 2009, RWR was the only organization with multiple drivers ranked among the top-ten in the final Nationwide Series driver standings.  For more on RWR, please visit rustywallace.com.