BUSCH: Las Vegas Preseason Thunder, day 2 report

Contender And Mentor: Mike Wallace Fills Two Roles in 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Veteran Likes His Championship Chances, Mentor Role For Nephew Steve DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb., 6, 2007) -- As he finished up the final day of Preseason Thunder ...

Contender And Mentor: Mike Wallace Fills Two Roles in 2007

NASCAR Busch Series Veteran Likes His Championship Chances, Mentor Role For Nephew Steve

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb., 6, 2007) -- As he finished up the final day of Preseason Thunder testing for NASCAR Busch Series teams at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet) could hardly wait to head back East to Daytona Beach for the start of the 2007 season.

And who could blame him? A series veteran known as a restrictor plate specialist whose first career win came at Daytona International Speedway in the July 2004 race; Wallace has a full-time ride for the first time since 2003 and a new sponsor to boot.

He's also partnered with J.J. Yeley (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Chevrolet) on James Finch's Phoenix Racing team. Yeley is gaining strength as a restrictor plate racer, having swept Busch Poles at Daytona's events last season along with capturing the pole at Talladega in 2006.

"We have a championship-caliber team with a championship-caliber sponsor [set for] the next three years," Wallace said. "I certainly have a great teammate in J.J. along with the guys at Phoenix Racing.

"I certainly think we have a title-contending organization and a good chance of finishing in the top five [in points]."

Along with being in a contender's role, Wallace will also be in a mentoring role as he'll compete against his nephew Steve (No. 66 HomeLife Communities Dodge) this season. The 19-year-old is scheduled to run his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series.

"He's in a pretty good situation," Wallace said. "He's got his dad (Rusty Wallace) up there in the [TV] booth and me running alongside him.

"There's a lot of experience there for him to draw on. I'm looking forward to it."

Paul Menard (No. 15 Menard's Chevrolet) topped the speed chart during the morning session at 29.603 seconds/182.414 mph, the fastest of the first three sessions at the 1.5-mile track. The afternoon session concludes the two-day test.

The ORBITZ 300 opens the new NASCAR Busch Series season on Feb. 17 at Daytona. The race begins at 1:15 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Mike Wallace , J.J. Yeley , Paul Menard
Teams Phoenix Racing