NASCAR Media Conference
TRACEY JUDD: Welcome, everybody, to the NASCAR NEXTEL teleconference today. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are both off this weekend, and that leaves the racing to the NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will return to action August 7th at the Brickyard, while the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is off until August 8th at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the Busch Series will also be at IRP joining the trucks and racing there August 6th. The Saturday NASCAR Busch Series Wallace Family Tribute 250 at Gateway will be broadcast live on TNT beginning at 8 p.m. eastern time on Saturday evening. It's a big event in many ways, as Gateway is located in the home city of the sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series and also it's one of the most exciting seasons in series history this year, and it has the spotlight on Saturday night, which brings us to three main reasons for that spotlight, the Wallace brothers, Kenny, Mike, and 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Rusty, who are all entered in the event being held in their hometown of St. Louis. The Wallaces are set to run against each other for only the third time in their NASCAR Busch Series. Combined each of them have raced together in the NASCAR Busch Series a total of 600 times. That was garnered by Kenny when he finished third this past weekend at Pikes Peak. So 600 NASCAR Busch Series races between the Wallace brothers together. Gentlemen, thanks for joining the call today. We appreciate your time during this busy week.
KENNY WALLACE: Thank you.
MIKE WALLACE: Thank you.
RUSTY WALLACE: Thank you.
TRACEY JUDD: A question to open for all three of you. What does this race and the event surrounding it this week mean to each of you being at home? Kenny, why don't you start off.
KENNY WALLACE: Well, younger one first, huh? Well, it really makes me check myself. You go along and you have a good time racing. You know, I think about my mom and dad, but most of all, you know, I love my brothers, but Rusty particularly stands out since this is his last year. It was just like yesterday that we were riding in his truck at midnight coming back from the shop, and I was not even a race car driver. This race comes full circle. When I look at Rusty, I go, "My gosh, I'm 41 years old." It just makes me realize how quick time has gone. So I want to congratulate Rusty and my whole family. But this is really a lot about Rusty and my mom and dad.
TRACEY JUDD: Mike, how about you?
MIKE WALLACE: Well, I think I got to first of all echo Kenny's sentiments there. I think what's really cool about it is that basically the City of St. Louis is honoring Rusty, number one. He's got the key to the city I believe being presented to him or already has been. And there's national exposure on the Wallace family this weekend and on St. Louis. I remember when we grew up in St. Louis, it was a predominantly stick-and-ball sport town. Being race car drivers or messing with the race cars was not the cool thing to do. I honestly remember our principal and counselors at Fox High School out in Arnold, Missouri, where we grew up, telling us we would never make nothing of ourselves if we kept messing with those race cars. Rusty was the first one to set that stage. I'm sure he heard that numerous times himself. To come full circle with Kenny, to have a national race honored in our name, our family's name, in the city that we grew up in, for myself and my father, we won a lot of races right up the street from Gateway, Tri-City Speedway. Really honored and really happy about the way the whole thing has come down.
TRACEY JUDD: Rusty, how about you?
RUSTY WALLACE: Yeah, I'm really excited about getting there. I have never raced that racetrack. I grew up in St. Louis. I moved from there in 1983 to come down and pursue my NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career, and I did that. It turned out real successful so far. But when the track was there, I just never had the opportunity to race on it. I tested there a couple times. When they called us up and said, "We'd like to honor you guys for what you've done, we want to call the race what it is," I'm just like blowed away, I said, "This is great." Our marketing director for the Rusty's Last Call Sig Wasaki put this together. I took it real serious. I went up there last weekend with one of my better Grand National cars and I tested there for two days and got my setup figured out real nice. I did a lot of race runs and qualifying runs and got comfortable. I'm going there to win the race just like the other brothers are. So I'm going there to win the race, just like the other brothers are. It's a really neat week and I'm glad it's going to be cooling down this weekend, sounds like.
TRACEY JUDD: Exactly. We all are. Thanks, guys. We will go ahead and take questions.
Q. Rusty, Kenny, then Mike, you mentioned your parents, for what they instilled in you. For each individual, what is it that you took from your family that made you successful in life?
RUSTY WALLACE: I'd say what made me successful, from what my dad and mother taught me, was particularly, I'm going to talk about the performance end of it right now, dad was always actively involved in working on his own cars, building his own cars, designing them, welding, doing all kind of trick things. He was one of the most successful area racers in St. Louis and down in Springfield, Illinois, and over at Granite City, Illinois on the dirt. Dad just won everything in the world. I think he got us brothers working on the cars and understanding how to work on them and being very mechanically inclined. A lot of the new guys, the fathers take them to the track and they learn to drive the cars. They really don't get involved in working on them and understanding them. I think that's one big thing dad did for us.
KENNY WALLACE: I would say the fear of failure is what my dad taught me as the younger brother. That's what I remember. You know, my dad won 11 or 12 weeks in a row at Tri-City Speedway, which is about five miles from Gateway. And when we did finish second, I remember as a kid it was very quiet and we just did not understand why we lost. And then I think that's why, you know, my brother Rusty, my brother Mike went on to win so much. And then on, I guess you could say, the family side of it, my mom I guess gave me my personality of being a little wild and crazy. So my dad, you know, he was the one that if you didn't win, there was something wrong. That still lives today.
MIKE WALLACE: From my side, the whole thing just revolved around us growing up in a sport again that my dad did in St. Louis. My mom and -- my mom even ran Powder Puff races. There was a female race back in the day, used to call them. From the age we were kind of big enough to get in a truck and follow them to the racetrack, we had a lot of fun family time. Kenny actually took and revisited our whole life style this past Christmas, made a nice video of it, about my dad racing in Missouri, Tri-City, all these places. It brought back a lot of really fond memories. As Rusty and Kenny both echoed, working on the cars, winning races, trying to be the best you did every time you did it, I think that's what we learned. We all try to do the best we can each and every time we go, try to understand the cars. Rusty is probably -- Rusty and Kenny are probably incredibly chassis smart. Rusty can rattle off numbers that are unbelievable. If you understand his high school years, you couldn't believe he could be that smart on his race cars today, but very successful at it (laughter).
Q. Rusty, you left Missouri. While you raced in Missouri, you built your own cars. How ironic that when you come back to race in Missouri, this was a team that you built and a car you built.
RUSTY WALLACE: Yeah, that's true. It is my own team. I've got a great crew chief, Blake Bainbridge, my crew chief over there. Many of people working at the shop. It is kind of ironic that I'm coming back there with my own car and a team that I built. It takes a lot of people to make it happen.
Q. Kenny, could you talk about the obstacles that you and your brothers faced as you tried to be taken seriously in St. Louis as an aspiring race car driver.
KENNY WALLACE: It aggravated us highly, you know, because Anheuser-Busch was such a huge company, we just didn't understand why they didn't want to sponsor us right away. We just didn't understand why racing wasn't as big as we thought it was. That's why it took my brother Rusty, the patriarch basically, my dad won a lot, but it took Rusty to put us in that, I guess you could say, bread truck that he brought. That's why we had to work so hard out of Missouri. We traveled incredible amounts. It was nothing for us to leave on a Friday evening and be in Canada at 6:00 the next morning. We had to work extra hard. So it was a little aggravating loving racing so much and growing up in a town that at the time just didn't back it.
Q. Rusty, does this make your last season all that much more sweeter because you're doing so well?
RUSTY WALLACE: It really does. I'm having a great year this year. I'm fourth in the points right now, only about 180 some points out of the lead. A lot of top 10 finishes, a second this past weekend. Although I mentioned earlier in my press conference after the race was over that it's a heck of a compliment when people come up to you and say, "You know, why are you retiring? You got more years left in you." It's all more of me wanting to go out and top my game. I'm at the top of my game right now doing well. It was an honor to me the other day. I was listening to CNN. There was Lance Armstrong on there saying, "This is a cool time to retire. I'm retiring and NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace is retiring." I can't believe he mentioned it in the same sentence, but he did. It's a fun time, but I'm going out at the top of my game . But one reason I think we're doing so well is this is my second year with my crew chief, Larry Carter. He and I got a lot of rhythm going on right now. We're working extremely hard on our chassis designs, our springs, our shocks, our sway bars, we're constantly opening new envelopes there. It feels good. People told me that you're probably going to put so much effort in this last year, you're probably going to perform better than you ever have. But I really think the performances come from the two years of working with the same crew chief, me really getting open-minded about some of the radical chassis setups we're running and things like that. There's a reason for it. Shorter spoiler, softer tires, all of that has kind of fit my driving style.
Q. Rusty, at various times in your career, you've expressed a lot of disappointment with the coverage maybe that you individually got in the St. Louis media, the St. Louis newspapers. Could you address how you felt about even your championship year and times when the coverage you got from the St. Louis media, and also how do you perceive the attention from the St. Louis media now for this event and for your farewell year also?
RUSTY WALLACE: First of all, I'll clarify one thing. I've never had a problem with the St. Louis media. They've always treated me good. Now, early in my career, back what Kenny was talking about, they didn't really recognize racing as a professional sport that people make money at. And that's a real job. I've had people come up to me and go, "What do you do for a living, Rusty," when I was living in St. Louis. I say, "I drive race cars." They'd giggle a little bit. "No, what do you do for a living?" I go, "No, that is what I do for a living." Conversation would be over. There was a lot of frustration on my part when I was winning all the ASA races, just won a title, this and that. I'm trying to get sponsorship from the Anheuser-Busch Company and I couldn't even get a meeting with them. The meetings I did get, they'd listen and no reaction. Basically just totally ignored us, didn't support the family at all. And now, that year was '89. After I won -- I guess that was back -- let me think now. That started back in 1978. I tried to get sponsorship from the brewery from '78 clear up to like, oh my gosh, '85 or '86, '87, with no success. Then when I won the title, you know, I got a phone call from the Miller Brewing Company saying, "Hey, we'd love to have you involved." You would have thought me being a St. Louis guy, as good as we were doing, we would have been supported more by Anheuser-Busch, and it didn't happen. But it did happen with the Miller Brewing Company. I don't have any hard feelings towards Anheuser-Busch at all. These beer companies are competitive, they want to go with a sure bet. They want to do things like that. But I've been with the Miller Brewing Company now since 1990, and I've got a lifetime contract with them, and they've been absolutely wonderful to me. It's been amazing. Even the new owners, the South African brewery, their chairman of the board, a lot of guys from the board, the CEOs, head of marketing, they call all the time now. I didn't get that from the old owners. So they're really behind me big time. The St. Louis Post Dispatch has always treated me good, but they never have reported on much in the past. They kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger. I guess the only problem I would have had is I would have thought the brewery, Anheuser-Busch, would have supported the family more than they do back then and now.
Q. As much of an honor as you guys obviously perceive this weekend to be, is it from the community standpoint a little bit of feeling of sort of "it's about time"?
RUSTY WALLACE: No, not for me it's not. I never even dreamed that. I never thought we would go to a race and have something like this happen. And I put a lot of that for making this happen in my guy that works for me, Sig Wasaki. Sig is head of the Rusty's Last Call Tour. Sig had many meetings with different racetracks around the country, about what kind of programs are we going to put together, and what can we help you with in the final tour of Rusty's Tour. The Dover Downs Speedway group, the guys from Dover Downs, who own St. Louis, and the track in Nashville, say, "We'd love to start off with a program in St. Louis and continue the program at Dover, Delaware, around the country." So St. Louis is the one that blew us away, though, with naming the grandstands, the mayor giving us the keys to the city, proclamations. It was appropriate because we're from St. Louis. It made a lot of sense.
Q. Rusty, how did the test go with Steven yesterday?
RUSTY WALLACE: We had a great time in Kentucky yesterday with Steven. I unloaded the car first. This was a last year Kodak car that Brendan Gaughan drove last year. The body on is it nice. It was a great chassis. It was a Ronnie Hopkins chassis. We don't run it any longer because now we're all running identical in-house Penske chassis. Even though this was a great car, we pushed it off to the side because we put all the drivers in the same chassis. Roger Penske said, "Let's get that car out, that's going to be a good one for Steven. Let's send it up to Kentucky for Steve to test." I unloaded it, and I drove the car. And when I got it to feeling pretty good, my best lap at that point in the heat of the day when we had the car set was like a 32.60. I guess it was a 32.65 I ran. Then Steve got in the car and he ran a 32.81. Literally Steve made -- I told him to go out and warm it up. He warmed it up a little bit. On the third lap he was wide open and I said, "Oh my gosh, here we go." And he came in and said, "Dad, it's a big track and fast track, I know that. But, you know, I wasn't -- it wasn't -- it wasn't as fast feeling as I thought it was." Immediately, he was changing, saying, "Let's push, do this, do that, make changes." He was up to speed in nothing flat. The test was a great success. Now we're going to be back at Michigan next Wednesday, August the 3rd, him and I doing the test again. This is for the marbles. We got to get the baby up to speed, get it handling great, get qualifying runs great, because he'll be running in the ARCA race on the 19th. Another test session before we go. But it was a total success.
Q. What does it mean to you to be able to go and have the time to go test with your son?
RUSTY WALLACE: It meant everything in the world for me to be able to have the time to go test with him. When I got there, they had everything ready to go. I jammed the six guys in the back of my plane, we flew up there, we did the test. Everybody got along great . It was 105 degrees yesterday. We were all dying in the heat. But for him to get in that car right off the bat, took no time at all to get right up to speed. It was something down deep I really expected, I knew he could do all this. I just wanted to have a little insurance. That's the reason I took him there, to see him. Right away, he was just wide open. It was amazing.
Q. How competitive are all of you? It's amazing how one guy is born, does one job. All three of you end up being race car drivers. Have you been competitive since you were young kids?
MIKE WALLACE: As far as the competition side between all of us, I don't know that we have what you call sibling rivalries - at least I don't. It's kind of been a pecking order as we went down. We grew up in the sport. First of all, my father started it. Rusty was the first one to venture out from the family and be successful in the race world. Kenny then followed Rusty. Rusty helped him follow that way. Quite honestly, I was very envious of both of them. I focused on what I could do to try to get my ability to go racing, and won the Winston Racing Series there in the Midwest, proceeded on. That was a huge goal for me.
KENNY WALLACE: I think it's hysterical that I do something I love and get paid. You know, I love the St. Louis Cardinals. Me and Rusty were at the ballgame the other night. Albert Pujols gets a base hit. You know when he runs to first base, he gets about 30 thousand bucks to get a base hit. I'm thinking to myself, this is incredible, because here we come from St. Louis, I moved to Charlotte back in '84 to be a crew member on the Levi Garrett team. I was working real hard on the car. Somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around. It was a guy named Harold Fagan and he handed me some money. It was my paycheck. I'll never forget that day as long as I live. I got paid doing something that I loved to do. To this day I just think I'm laughing because I know people that work every day and clock in. I'd hate to have to work again for a living.
RUSTY WALLACE: They got me lost thinking about it. It's a great job. I've had a great career. I really, really enjoyed it. I'm continuing to enjoy this year, putting it all into it. Next year's just going to be the beginning of a new chapter of my life. Following Steven around, supporting him, getting him going, paying attention to car dealerships and all that. I've never had any rivalries with any of my brothers. I love racing with them. Had a great time. We're not competitive like that at all, you know. If one of them is in trouble, I try to help them all I possibly can, you know.
Q. Rusty, can you evaluate where your Busch team is at right now, tell us what are your plans for next year.
RUSTY WALLACE: Absolutely. Right now my Busch team is looking better than it's ever looked at the moment. Loudon, we had a great run there. We finished fifth in that race this past weekend with Bill Elliott driving. He qualified third, and we finished sixth. Really had a better car than that. Started have a little bit of brake problem, he fell back a little bit. Right now the Busch program is looking good. I tested at St. Louis. It felt really good. Blake has been working really, really hard on some chassis stuff to make these cars drive better and make them feel better. We hit in some stuff of late that it got a lot better. I have changed some of the chassis around in some of the cars. I went back to Ronnie Hopkins stuff. We've been working really hard on the bodies. Roger Penske and I have been talking about the engines. We've been getting the horsepower up and better. Right now McMurray's driving it. We have Mayfield driving it, and Elliott, and this will be the last race this year I'm driving it. I don't have all my plans, my driver lineup, put together where I want to have it for next year yet. I do know I want to start minimizing all that, though. I don't want to have that many drivers. It's tough on Blake and not fair on Blake to give him that many drivers and he can't build any rhythm with them. I mean, my ultimate goal would be to have one driver that we could have and do it. Although it's hard to get the money for these cars unless you put a Cup guy in there, got a big name to draw some attention. Top-Flite Golf has re-signed with us for next year. Still talking to Miller guys. I feel comfortable with everything we got going on. I don't have everything completely done at this early time in the year. I got -- another month, I'll know exactly -- feel real comfortable with my driver lineup and everything.
Q. What can you say about what Steven will be doing?
RUSTY WALLACE: Steven, I'm going to run Steven all I possibly can this year to get all the seat time I possibly can. We're going to run Michigan. He's going to run Chicago in a Dodge development test car. He'll be driving for Eddie Sharp at Chicago. Dodge has funding for one Busch Grand National race. They already have a pre-existing agreement with one of the teams. I'm going to be talking to one of those guys. I'd much rather run Steven in one of my cars. But if they have a deal with this particular team, that team's already got points, where Steven is already geared into the race, we'll run Steven in that car. I'm going to run him in as many Hooters races as I can this year. That still makes sense. I'm also going to run him in my own second Rusty Wallace Busch car at Memphis, Tennessee this year. If all that looks real good, we'll go ahead and take him to Phoenix, Arizona. When all that is said and done, then we're going to take a look at next year and say, "Where have we come so far?" And I'm going to try to run Steven all I possibly can in a second Busch car. I'm not saying that Steven might fall right in the lineup of maybe 10 races in the 64 car, if we do use two drivers next year.
Q. Kenny, growing up when you were young in high school and things like that, was it all racing all the time? What were your friends doing? Was there any doubt about what you'd do for a living after you got out of high school?
KENNY WALLACE: No. It was all racing all the time. I grew up watching my brothers Rusty and Mike and my dad work in the garage. We had a two-car garage in Arnold, Missouri. We just never did anything else. I am the only brother off-centered. I'm not like the rest of them. I really did like baseball and I still love baseball, and I played a lot of sports. The other two, I don't think they even went to their graduations. I went to my graduation. But I can tell you that I wouldn't trade my family for anything. I had so much fun growing up. I can remember us working all the way around the clock. I was too little to work on the car. I built a go-kart overnight. Rusty and Mike were working on the race car, I built a go-kart. Sunrise came up, I went down the hill with it. It was all racing all the time, nothing else.
Q. Rusty, any good memories of racing on the Kansas City side?
RUSTY WALLACE: I have tons of great memories. I didn't run in Missouri much, you know, because I was always out around the country racing. But I was in Odessa a lot. I raced the I-70 Speedway many times. Back then to me that was one of the fastest short tracks in the country and I had a great time there racing. I've ran real, real well at that racetrack. It was just awesome. So, yeah, I got great memories of that.
Q. Rusty, being a close friend, mentor of Jamie McMurray, do you have any insights on whether all the contract stuff Jamie has been dealing with is wearing on him at all?
RUSTY WALLACE: I'd say it's not wearing on him much. I think there's no doubt that he'd like to get in that 6 car as quick as he could and get in it right away, you know, and do that and get on with it. On the other hand, Chip Ganassi is a really great guy. I like Chip a lot. I told Chip, I said, you know -- I didn't tell Chip, I told Jamie that "Chip gave you your first break when nobody heard of you. You need to be sensitive to the issue. If you're going to move on, move on." But sometimes you make a good deal, sometimes you make a bad deal, but you got to honor the deals you make. It's my opinion, I wish Jamie would stay with Ganassi for next year and then honor his contract, then go on into the contract with Roush after that. But I think he's just frustrated because he just wants to end it now and move on. That's his opinion. That's my opinion. But he's not fretting over it. Right now he's driving our Busch car and he did a great job the last time he was in it. We finished fifth. So that's the only thing. He understands the cards that are dealt with. He made a deal; he's got to stick to the deal. I'm not saying they might not buy that contract out. That might happen.
Q. Did you tell him as much? You said it's your opinion that you think he should stay with Ganassi next year. Have you told him that you think that's what he should do?
RUSTY WALLACE: Yes, I have.
Q. Rusty, in relation to Mark Martin, you two came out of the ASA, both retiring this year. You, even on this conference call, remain sort of a fountain of optimism going up to Michigan, get the car right. You're talking about winning the championship. Mark would just absolutely refuse to hope or think or believe he could win a championship on his way out because of so many disappointments that he's had. Can you pinpoint the difference in you two guys' outlook? Was it maybe because after you had your huge disappointment, barely missed Elliott in '88, you came back and win a championship? Does that keep your optimism going or is it two different outlooks and maybe Mark has had more heartbreaks than you have?
RUSTY WALLACE: I really think you're reading too much into Mark when it comes to that. Mark, he's always been like that forever. He's the type of guy, you go, "How you running for today's race?" "My car handles like crap." He goes out and wins. "I feel bad about the day, I don't have a chance in heck." He goes out and does good again. He's always been like that. I will tell you down deep I know he thinks he can win the championship this year. From his past experience, he probably doesn't want to be disappointed. On the other hand, I'm not a quitter. I never quit. I'm very, very optimistic person. I'm the type of person that, "Let's make it happen. Don't tell me all the doggone reasons why we can't get it done. Make it happen." Sometimes when it comes to doing contracts and negotiations, you know, lawyers want to sit there and give me every little reason in the world why we got chances of screwing this deal up. I say, "Let's make it happen, deal with the problems later." Sometimes I screw up doing that. But that philosophy has worked for me. I don't like being around people that are lazy, that are not into it, don't believe in theirself, and that sometimes shut down and quit and lock up. I'm not that type of guy. Now, Mark is that guy, but he gets it done all the time. That is just him. Two different personalities but really great friends.
Q. Last year I was sitting with Mark in his trailer. He talked about how bad he was going to run that race. He said, "Go to Rusty's trailer if you want somebody who thinks they're going to win Sunday and the next week." As great friends, do you guys kid each other about those two approaches, the ultimate optimist and the ultimate pessimist?
RUSTY WALLACE: No, we never do, not at all. I don't. We never talked about that at all. I make fun of him occasionally, when he says his car is junk. I go, "Right, just like it was last week when you finished second." Stuff like that. But I don't bother him at all about his un-optimistic approach. Trust me, he's a hard driver. He's optimistic, he's very optimistic, but he doesn't show it. When he says it, you don't know that.
Q. Mike and Kenny, do you have all your ducks in a row for next year?
MIKE WALLACE: I'd like to say I do, but I don't really know. I'm driving the #4 Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Chevrolet at the moment. I guess it really depends with that organization, how the sponsorship hunt continues, Lucas stays on board, what the final part of the season is. I guess you could say I'm always continuing to look and keep options open, but definitely do not have anything firmed up for next year at the time.
KENNY WALLACE: I'm thrilled to death. I got everything going good for me. I've got a three-year contract with ppc Racing, a solid one. As a matter of fact, I just took a look at it. We are getting ready to make a major announcement. Got great sponsorship lined up for this week in St. Louis, Waylens (phonetic). We've got ten top tens, five of them are in the top five. I'm riding high right now. I'm probably -- you know, since Rusty -- since Wallace Racing, where I won a lot of races, I'm in the best position I've been in my career. I've got a great race team right now. I'm looking to do better than I ever have.
Q. Rusty, you talked about what a great season this is. Right now it's very possible that you could be champion at the end of the year. Should that happen, would you have any second thoughts about defending your title?
RUSTY WALLACE: No, not at all. I made my decision. I'm sticking to it. In fact, I'm moving on right now getting things ready and set for life after that, working with Steven, getting his Busch team stronger than ever. Maybe even, you know, doing more Busch races, maybe a team and a half because of Steven. Television stuff, things like that. But, no, I'm comfortable with what I'm doing right now. Hey, I tell you what, when it comes to this championship deal, I'm feeling really good about it. I've seen the Jimmie Johnson team struggle the last couple weeks with handling. The 16 car has been pretty good. But we beat them this week. These guys definitely are all beatable. I see -- hey, I'm watching our handling package getting better and better and better. I'm going, "Hey, this is a realistic goal right now. I feel good about it." I'm feeling real strong about my chances. That's not going to make me come back. That will make me go out on top of my game, more than I have ever dreamed.
Q. Thought you had a chance to get up there and do something with Kurt.
RUSTY WALLACE: It was fun. At the very end, I was watching everybody. I'm going, "Gosh, nobody can pass nobody." They're having such a tough time of passing because of track position. The aero push was kicking in real bad. Then I saw guys two-tiring. I'm going, looks like they are running okay on it, I'm going to try it. So I did it, and it worked okay. Then I come in for a normal four-tire stop. When I did that, the left rear chain broke. The left rear dropped down. We came in fourth and came out 14th. So then that forced me into another two-tire, and I ran the two tires for a while. They got me back up in front. But then I was forced to go back with four again, I did that. I asked Larry, "How many laps is this run on fuel?" He said, "38." I couldn't believe, lap 36 the caution come out. It was perfect. I said, "Put two on it, we're going to drive it home from there." We got the position. I got a fast car. Thought we were going to win, but Kurt caught me and passed me.
Q. Rusty, will you do any driving next year? Do you have any plans for yourself in the Craftsman Truck Series?
RUSTY WALLACE: I have no plans at all in the Craftsman Truck Series. I do have plans in the 24 Hours of Daytona. I'm working with Max Crawford right now doing some Prototype stuff for Daytona. We got a ways to go yet to get our driver lineup put together, what we're going to do. I'll be doing that for sure. I'm never going to say 'never' when it comes to getting back in a car. I mean, I might have to get back and want to get back in my Grand National car, run it in some races. I might do that. The other thing I'll be doing for sure is getting in a car several times to help Steven along. There will be a lot of test sessions I'll go to where I'll get in it, run it, feel it. Let Steven get in it, see if he's feeling the same thing. Then we'll do the same thing we did at Kentucky yesterday, I'll drive, he'll drive, I'll drive, he'll drive. I'm going to help him all I possibly can. You'll see me in the car doing that. The other thing I'll probably be doing is doing all the initial testing at my new racetrack up in Iowa, the Iowa Speedway, which myself and Paxton Waters, the architect firm out of Indy have designed. We announced about two months. We're going to lay a first course of asphalt down. I'm going to drive it in one of my own Busch cars or a Penske car, whatever, check for the smoothness and contours of the banking. I'll be doing that myself.
Q. Kenny, you have an announcement coming up on sponsorship. I was concerned with what is the color scheme of your car going to be this week. Do you have some St. Louis Cardinal colors on there?
KENNY WALLACE: Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm very thankful to Waylens (phonetic), which is a large company for emergency lights, and they are currently sponsoring Dave Blaney in the series also. A couple weeks ago I met them in New Hampshire. They expressed interest. They're going to be the sponsor. The car is going to be fluorescent orange, very bright, with the arch on the hood. And I requested that they put the STO logo in a couple places on the car. It's a lot of fun, you know. Dead serious inside the race car, but a real nice paint job to celebrate the race.
Q. In the past you guys have raced sort of a grudge match situation with your dad at Tri-City. I was wondering if you could talk about that.
MIKE WALLACE: I'm not sure of the exact plans. I know after Saturday night's event, the Wallace Family Tribute 250, I'm going, I believe Rusty and Kenny all three of us will be at Tri-City actually. I don't know if Rusty is racing. I believe I'm supposed to drive Earl Pearson's cars, the Lucas Oil car in a race. I know Kenny has his own dirt car. He can elaborate. I don't think dad is scheduled to race but I'm sure he'll show up.
KENNY WALLACE: What that is really all about, Kevin Gundaker is a friend of ours. We grew up with Kevin, Rusty did. We're helping him out. He's just holding a race over there. It's called the Wallace Homecoming with Kenny Schrader. I got into dirt racing lately. We're going over there to help Kevin out, get a big crowd, make him a little bit of money. Plus I love dirt racing. My brothers think I'm crazy for running dirt, but I'm having a real good time doing it. I'm going to run my modified and I'm also going to drive the late model that I ran the race at El Dora with.
Q. Rusty, looks like right now there's going to be 10 drivers in the Chase. Do you think that's a good number or do you think it should be expanded up to 12?
RUSTY WALLACE: I don't know if there's going to be 10 or not. It could be more. Whoever is within 400 points. I'm rooting for more than that, to tell you the truth. I just hope that I make it. I'm looking good right now. But I'll tell you what, I'm an optimistic guy, and I am optimistic, but I am looking behind me. A couple bad races could put you out of the deal nothing flat. I hope it's more. I thought it was just a fluke that 400 points and top 10 thing they dreamed up was that close in numbers, but I couldn't believe how close they were last year on it.
Q. What do you think about the number ten? Should it be 12?
RUSTY WALLACE: No, I don't think so. I think the number top ten is catchy. Top five is catchy. Top ten is catchy. Hey, I finished 13th. That's not catchy. 12th sounds better than 13th, that's for sure. So does 11th. But the top ten is always the one that makes -- has a better ring to it.
Q. Rusty, Mayfield is out testing tires today. You worked together with him at Penske. He got bumped. Now you've hired him. Could you talk about him as a driver. Is it good to see him proving himself and heading for the Chase?
RUSTY WALLACE: Yeah, I feel good about what Jeremy is doing. He's got a about support team with Evernham. He's run my Busch car. Hasn't had the success I hoped. But he did have a great run at Bristol, finished sixth with us. Really had a car he could have won with, had he not gotten himself trouble, not of his making at the Talladega crash. Other times we missed the setups. I'm glad he's working -- all the stuff I'm doing, I'm glad he's on the racetrack testing and running laps because it just makes him smarter. When he helps me in my Busch efforts, it's just better. But he's obviously a good driver. Heck, he won Richmond. Got himself in the top 10 last year. I think he finished fourth in the Coke 600. Had a great run on the road course out there. Had a great run I guess it was two weeks ago, forget what track it was. I think it was Chicago. All top five finishes. He can get it done. It's like anything else, you've got to continually work with the same crew chief and build the rhythm to get the success.
Q. Rusty, you mentioned you were trying some things with setups and some packages that you hadn't tried before. Is that a result of this being your last season, just kind of take a little gamble that you hadn't taken before?
RUSTY WALLACE: No. It's the result of having more knowledge. It's a result of -- my crew chief Carter and also Derek, my engineer, him and I are working with a lot of chassis stuff. I continue, like I've told my two brothers on the phone right now, you got to keep your head in the game when it comes to springs, shocks and the carburetor. I'm beating Steven to death to make him do that, too. You got to know what you can do. You can't keep running around to these guys saying, "What do you got in your car?" I just doesn't cut it no more. Knowing my car, knowing what I'm trying to achieve, I went for it. I said, I don't care if I ever run these springs before, the car shows me, telling me I can do this, even though it sounds crazy. I just say, Okay, do it. Plus I learned a lot of stuff at the Indy test, the Indianapolis test, awful close to Pocono. That kind of helped me, too. I'm very open-minded. I'm very into all our instrumentation, our computerized sims when it comes to chassis setup. I'm working with that real hard. I'm very open-minded when it comes to chassis stuff. I'm bringing that information to the Busch team, too. It's helping there also.
Q. At Pocono, it was weird to hear Rusty saying, "This is the last time I'm here at Pocono." Kenny and Mike, what do you think now when you think about coming into your own without Rusty being there? Is it odd to think of another season without your brother to mark yourself against?
MIKE WALLACE: Well, Rusty is sets such a high standard, I'm not sure we'll be able to mark ourselves against him. I'd just like to have little bit of success. I'd like to win a Cup race sometime in my career. The greatest part about this season right now is I'm having the chance to race on the same racetrack Rusty is most every weekend. I'm so thrilled that he's got the opportunity that he has announced his retirement on his own terms exactly the way he wanted them to be, and he's running so incredibly well. He mentioned earlier in the teleconference here he's going to go out on top. If the season ended today, he's on top. I'm just happy for him.
KENNY WALLACE: I've always looked up to my brothers. I love them both to death. Rusty is just the coolest. I mean, without him, I would have never made it out of St. Louis. The older you get, you are more thankful for the things. The fact of the matter is, without my brother Rusty, I would have never got out of St. Louis and made it down in North Carolina. I made it down there. He had a brand-new mobile home waiting for me, a brand-new van. He laid out the red carpet for me, my wife and my kids. I'm not going to miss him because he's probably going to watch me race a lot more.
RUSTY WALLACE: When I get on a fixed-income after I retire, you start making a lot of doggone money I might have to be calling you for a loan.
KENNY WALLACE: I think I owe you about 15 to 20 million bucks.
RUSTY WALLACE: The other thing I want to know, the other day when I wen to the St. Louis ballgame, I left at the bottom of the seventh inning when you were playing the organ at the seventh-inning stretch. What was the name of the restaurant?
KENNY WALLACE: You went to the Shannon Steakhouse.
RUSTY WALLACE: When I left, they were leading. When I got to the steakhouse, how did they lose?
KENNY WALLACE: You brought me bad luck. You were supposed to stay up there in the booth with me. We were leading 3-1. When Rusty left, the Brewers came back. That was a bummer. Then Rusty brought it to my attention that it was him leaving. I said, "Yeah, you're right."
RUSTY WALLACE: Going into that deal is controversial for me. I'm a St. Louis guy. But the Brewers, that's the Milwaukee company. Lot of brewing companies there. I got to go in there and share both ends. When I was there, I got to watch them lead, the Cardinals lead. When I left, I didn't get roughed up by the brewery.
KENNY WALLACE: Everybody at the ballpark when they seen him coming, some fans heard through the grapevine that Rusty was coming. They're outside the ballpark with some of his die casts, without even announcing he is going to be there. They are like, Oh, man, you're coming into Anheuser-Busch country. I'm like, Brother, let's go up here.
RUSTY WALLACE: All the media on the phone still, Mike, my brother Mike, will be driving our No. 64 Busch car at IRP in Indianapolis. Mike is going to be driving my car there. I got a lot of confidence in him. He's won there before, running real good. Mike will be running that car. We're all looking forward to going to St. Louis. It's going to be interesting. I hope that car that I've got there really runs the way I think it's going to go. If it comes out clean, I want to put Mike right in that particular car for IRP. If not, we've got a real hot rod waiting for him anyway.
KENNY WALLACE: Mike is a winner at Indy. I want to win that race, too. I want a trophy like Mike has.
MIKE WALLACE: You can get yours next year. I want to give Rusty a Busch win here this year.
TRACEY JUDD: We do appreciate you all taking quite a bit of the time out of your day and out of your busy week heading home to join us today. Kenny, Mike, Rusty, thanks a lot for joining the call. Best of luck to each of you at Gateway for the Wallace Family Tribute 250. Enjoy your week at home and all the other opportunities that are going on as far as racing with your families, Kenny, the Hermanator, the rest of the week. Thanks for all of you for joining us on the NASCAR NEXTEL teleconference. We hope you can join us at Gateway.
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