Barkdoll puts Wallace in his seat John Crowley NASCAR Online DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 1998) Phil Barkdoll is a race car driver and owner. He's also a pragmatist. That fact and a spring and shock setup that had him feeling like...
Barkdoll puts Wallace in his seat
John Crowley NASCAR Online
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 1998)
Phil Barkdoll is a race car driver and owner. He's also a pragmatist.
That fact and a spring and shock setup that had him feeling like he was traveling the high banks at Daytona International Speedway on a skateboard, led him to put NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Mike Wallace in the seat of his No. 73 X-1R Chevrolet for the first of two Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Races on Thursday.
Barkdoll has a love affair with the Daytona 500 that has him in Florida every February, but nowhere to be found the rest of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. He has attempted to enter 10 Daytona 500s, and qualified for six.
Last year he put his car in the field on his own, then struck a deal with Team SABCO to put Joe Nemechek in the seat with that team's regular sponsor, an agreement that reportedly netted him $100,000. His best finish in the race was a 17th in 1992.
Wallace, who thought he was headed home after finishing second in Sunday's ARCA race to prepare for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with owner Ken Schrader and Purolator, will join brothers Kenny and Rusty on Sunday, provided he can get through the 125s in one piece.
He was the sixth-fastest of the Bud Beer Second-Round qualifiers Monday, posting a speed of 187.778 mph.
"I know Mike has a better chance of getting in the (Daytona) 500 than I would, and if he does I'm going to let him drive in it," said the resident of Vinton, Iowa. "That's kind of what my wife and I talked about and that's what we decided."
"I'll be honest with you, though. Yesterday when I knew the car was going to go off, I kind of wished Mike would have had a leg cramp where I could have qualified it. But I'm also 60-years-old and I realize there comes a time, in a sense, where you pass the baton to somebody else."
Despite Barkdoll's self-professed privateer status, Wallace will not go into battle unarmed, as some might assume. Barkdoll's son, Steve, is team manager at Andy Petree Racing, and in an arrangement between the two teams, Barkdoll's car will run one of the SB-2's that powered Schrader to a position on the outside of the front row in the first Gatorade 125.
"I'm just happy to have the opportunity to drive a good car," Wallace said. "I like to race, I want to race. That's the biggest thing. Phil has got good equipment. This is last year's 33 car basically. It should be a decent race car. Andy (Petree) built everything. They don't have a really good program, but they have resources from their association with the 33."
Wallace admits that he is far from comfortable with the car. But at least he has one. And Barkdoll is back in the Daytona 500, albeit a few paces removed from the driver's seat.
"We're going to run to compete and see what happens," Barkdoll said. "You never know, that's the beauty of this place?"
And the reason he keeps coming back.