Mike Wallace was named to replace Jeremy Mayfield for the rest of this season as driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Taurus. Wallace spoke about his new opportunity prior to Friday's practice session." MIKE WALLACE --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus DID...
Mike Wallace was named to replace Jeremy Mayfield for the rest of this season as driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Taurus. Wallace spoke about his new opportunity prior to Friday's practice session."
--12-- Mobil 1 Taurus
DID YOU THINK MONDAY WAS GOING TO BE JUST A NORMAL DAY? "Actually, I went to bed late, late Sunday night hoping that Monday was gonna be a special day. It's just a dream come true. I guess the biggest thing is that this whole thing came out of the clear blue. There had not been one ounce of talk about it until a phone call came, and I'm just thrilled with the chance that I've got."
IT'S BEEN AN UP AND DOWN YEAR FOR YOU. WHAT ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY? "I think this is any driver's dream, especially a driver such as myself that has been struggling to get in with an organization that has all the parts and pieces and financing to make it work. They've got the engineering staff. They've got the technical side of it. They've got the resources. I've got my brother as a teammate that I can walk up and say, 'Hey, Rusty, what have you got?' Throughout the whole practice sessions, we'll know what they have. The engineers from all three teams, that's their responsibility. From what I've been told, they will constantly know what each car has in it and there will be a sheet of paper we can look at any time that will say what the 2 has and what the 02 has. I've never had that before."
WHAT ABOUT TEAMING WITH RUSTY? "First of all, I want to thank Rusty a tremendous amount because he okayed this to happen. If he didn't want me there, it wouldn't have happened. Through Roger and Walter and them asking him, he said, 'Fine. That's good. It will work out well.' Rusty and I have talked and he's very supportive of me. Like I told him yesterday, 'I'm gonna go and do the very best job I can.' He said, 'I know that.' I said, 'If I've got a problem, I'm gonna come and talk to you,' and he said, 'That's what you're supposed to do.' So, that's a huge vote of confidence, just knowing that you've got somebody of his stature and caliber to go talk to. Now he can talk openly with me. He doesn't have to keep some of the secrets about it. He's always helped me, but we were on two opposing teams and he could never lay it all out there. Now he can."
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE? IS THIS A TRYOUT FOR NEXT YEAR? "All I can say right now is that this is for the remainder of the year only. I hope that I will run well enough that I can perform well enough so that if the 12 car wants to hire Mike Wallace or hire a driver, they would hire me and say 'he's doing a great job.' If not, hopefully, we'll show some other people that we've done a good enough job and open another door somewhere, but I would love to just stay here forever."
Car owners Travis Carter and Jim Smith were informed within the last seven days that their regular drivers would not be back for the 2002 season. Jimmy Spencer informed Carter last weekend at Kansas City that he would pursue other opportunities while Mike Wallace asked for his release from Smith on Monday. The two owners talked about their situations and what their plans are for the near future.