Wallace Takes A Hit At MIS

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BROOKLYN, Mich. – Rusty Wallace wasn’t too broken up about leaving Michigan International Speedway Sunday afternoon. That’s not to say he wasn’t disappointed.

Wallace dropped to sixth in the Winston Cup points standings after his 41st-place finish in the Kmart 400. After starting 18th, Wallace had moved up to 11th before he tangled with Todd Bodine on Lap 25 sending his Miller Lite Ford hard into the Turn 3 wall.

Although he was able to make repairs and complete additional laps, he wound up 82 circuits behind winner Jeff Gordon. Wallace was understandably unhappy with the day’s events.

“I don’t know what the kid was doing out there or where he was going,” Wallace said. “He drove right into the back of me and sent me right into the wall. We had a great car, we were moving up through the field, and then that happens. It’s frustrating to say the least.”

Wallace now trails series leader Gordon by 228 points as the tour heads to Pocono.

Craven Out of Power
It was a disappointing day for Ricky Craven, who came to Michigan off a top-five finish in Dover last weekend. After qualifying fifth, Craven’s Tide Ford suffered a battery malfunction and was sidelined early to finish 35th.

“That's just how this business is,” said Craven. “We really thought we had a car that could compete here today, but we lost the battery early on and that pretty much was it. There’s nothing you can do except move on to Pocono and put this behind us.”

Craven, who took over the PPI Motorsports Ford this season replacing Scott Pruett, has turned in several strong performances over the past two months of the season and is 27th in the series points standings.

One is the Loneliest Number
NASCAR is expected to announce a "one engine" rule will be in effect when the Winston Cup Series races at New Hampshire International Speedway in July. Teams will be forced to both qualify and race with the same powerplant, a move the sanctioning body hopes will lower costs.

The policy has been used in the Busch Series, and the New Hampshire test could be a harbinger of a total rules change for the 2002 season. Not everyone in the garage area is pleased with the possibility of changing to a single engine for an entire weekend.

“I understand where they're coming from, but it doesn’t make sense to introduce something like this in the middle of the season,” said Ray Evernham, who fields the two-car Dodge team of Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood. “All of the teams have engine programs in place to develop qualifying motors and race motors, and a lot of time and resources have been directed to those programs for this season. Anything to cut costs is something we should look at, but changing in the middle of the year doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.”

An official word is expected from NASCAR this week.

You Go Girl
Her day ended with a minor spin, but Shawna Robinson was elated to get her first Winston Cup start under her belt. After starting 32nd, Robinson wound up 34th in the final Kmart 400 rundown. But it was a successful day for her nonetheless.

“We want to make this a career and be here every week in 2002,” Robinson said. “It was great to make the race and get the seat time out there today, but we want to compete. This was a great first step and hopefully we can build on our experience here for the next race this year.”

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