Mike Wallace gets "good news" at Daytona By Dave Rodman NASCAR Online DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 1998) - Kenny Wallace hung the tag "Bad News Bears" on his brother Mike's rag-tag NASCAR Winston Cup Series team this week at Daytona...
Mike Wallace gets "good news" at Daytona By Dave Rodman NASCAR Online
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 1998) - Kenny Wallace hung the tag "Bad News Bears" on his brother Mike's rag-tag NASCAR Winston Cup Series team this week at Daytona International Speedway, but following the first Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Race Thursday, Mike Wallace had good news - he would start 23rd in Sunday's 40th Daytona 500.
"I'll tell you what, I hope we proved to some people today that Mike Wallace can drive a race car," said the 38-year-old native of St. Louis, Mo. "We came here with no plans to run the Daytona 500, but here we are. We finished second in the ARCA race and now we're in the 500. Incredible."
Mike, the middle of three racing Wallace brothers, has had a checkered NASCAR Winston Cup career, basically with under-funded teams. But in the last several years he has won races in both the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series - including the Daytona ARCA 200 - and the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division.
Mid-way through the 1997 season, he took a ride in Ken Schrader's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, and will run the full season in that division in 1998.
He made a strong statement at the season-opening Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway when he contended for the win with less than 10 laps to go. He's been just as adamant that he wants to make his way back into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series by 1999. NASCAR journeyman Phil Barkdoll, a happy-go-lucky entrepreneur who has made six of the ten Daytona 500s he's attempted, put Wallace into his car for Bud Beer Second-Round Qualifying last Monday and maintained the switch Thursday.
Wallace, who took a seat in an ill-handling car, paid Barkdoll's faith back with a 12th place finish in the race that had a wild finish.
"The whole deal was getting someone to work with you, to just draft with you," Wallace said. "On the last re-start, Jeff Gordon was right behind me. I knew he probably wouldn't work with me, but I asked my spotter anyway to see if he would keep it two-wide on the restart.
"Right off the bat, he dove down to the inside ... and I just stayed up on the outside lane. Mark Martin dropped in behind me and that was all it took. You just needed some drafting help to make something happen, and I did get a lot of cooperation today.
"One time, I came up in front of Bill Elliott and he could've drilled me, but he didn't, and I thank him for that. Another time I did the same thing to Ken Schrader and he cut me a break."
Schrader, who grew up in Fenton, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, was not so lucky when he was involved in an accident on the white flag lap.
"That was a tough break for Kenny," Mike Wallace said. "I saw them getting into each other behind me and I watched him take a pretty hard hit in my mirror."
Now, Wallace has two days to get Barkdoll's No. 73 X-1R Chevrolet into shape for the "Great American Race."
"I just want to thank Linda and Phil Barkdoll for giving me this opportunity," said Wallace of his car owners. "I know people had a few things to say about this team earlier in the week, but all I know now is we're in the race Sunday."
Courtesy of NASCAR Online