Originally created 06/20/00

Wrong call costly for Wallace



LONG POND, Pa. - For the third time this season, Rusty Wallace had the fastest car: he led the most laps and wound up with nothing to show for it.

Wallace, led for 107 of 200 laps during the Pocono 500 on Monday, but a decision with 16 laps to go to change four tires on pit road spoiled his chances to win.

"We made the wrong call. We put on four tires, and we shouldn't have," Wallace said after finishing 10th. "It was a stupid call. We've made a lot of bad calls this year. We've got to figure out how to make them right. I'm upset about it."

The rest of the leaders only took two tires. The time saved on pit road was enough to drop Wallace deep into the pack.

"Fourteen cars take on two tires, and we take on four," Wallace said. "I don't understand it. I don't. It's just upsetting to lead the most laps and have a great car."

Wallace also led the most laps at Martinsville, Va., and Richmond, Va. At Martinsville, his chances were dashed by a flat tire. At Richmond, his car developed a push - a condition where the front tires won't turn in the corners.

TEAMING UP:

Wood Brothers Racing, the third-winningest car owner in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history, will get an assist from Roush Racing next year in the construction of their Ford Tauruses.

Roush, which fields cars driven by Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kevin Lepage, Matt Kenseth and Chad Little, will build the frame and hang the bodies on each car in the Wood Brothers shop.

"This will enable us to be closer to the right kind of technology," said team co-owner Eddie Wood. "Being a single-car team like we are, this enables us to be a multi-car team by association to help us get it right."

In return, the Wood Brothers, who've been getting their engines this year from Roush, will report any significant gains they find in their cars to Roush Racing.

"I don't know if you all are grasping how big this really is to us," said Wood Brothers driver Elliott Sadler. "I share mental notes with Mark (Martin) and Jeff (Burton) and Kevin (Lepage), but we're running different equipment.

"We might hit up on something, and I'll share that with Mark or whoever, but it's not the same car, not the same chassis. Now we can really share information."

The Wood Brothers have 96 career wins, but their last trip to Victory Lane came in 1993 with driver Morgan Shepherd at Atlanta. Only Petty Enterprises and Junior Johnson have more as car owners.

Reach Don Coble at doncoble@mindspring.com.