Wallace Shocked By Replacement Driver, Came To Pocono Expecting To Run Second Car By THOMAS CHEMRIS POCONO PA NASCAR Winston Cup driver Mike Wallace was completely surprised that car owner Jim Smith removed him from the car for events at ...
Wallace Shocked By Replacement Driver, Came To Pocono Expecting To Run Second Car
By THOMAS CHEMRIS
NASCAR Winston Cup driver Mike Wallace was completely surprised that car owner Jim Smith removed him from the car for events at Pocono, and Sears Point.
"It was a total shock to me, on one side, I understand, but I am very confused about the way it took place". Stated Wallace who arrived at Pocono Thursday night.
Wallace, part of a trio of famous siblings flew up to the track with his brother Rusty. Expecting to qualify a second car for the team, He spent the weekend out of the car. "Its tough anytime you come to the racetrack when you think you are to be in a particular car, I had to be here to make sure that we did not have a mis-understanding. I was here ready for practice, and I wanted to make sure the guys knew that. There was not a second car, like there was supposed to be, and I will just take that as.... Whatever".
Wallace who has competed in NASCAR in several divisions including running a previous seventy races in Winston Cup prior to returning this year, found his most successful moments in the Craftsman Truck Series driving for his current owner Jim Smith.
Smith announced late Thursday (6/14/01) that he was pulling Wallace for two races to evaluate the team and equipment.
"It's no secret that our performance hasn't been where we want it be, especially over the past few weeks, and everybody at Ultra Motorsports is doing everything they can get over this hump and figure things out". Notes the owner
Veteran driver Ted Musgrave, who is finding renewed success in CTS driving for Smith is no stranger to the musical chairs that can take place in the cup garage.
Musgrave, who put the car solidly in the field, denies that this may be anything more than a one-race deal, citing contractual commitments to dodge in the CTS.
"It's not fair for Mike, but were just doing it to help find out what is going on, Jim Smith wants to know if he has good enough equipment to do this" notes Musgrave.
Both drivers acknowledge that they have spoken, and there appears to be no animosity between the two.
Wallace believes that the problem has a great deal to do with the team's failure to qualify well. "There has been some controversy between picking up speed from practice to qualifying".
Wallace is visibly upset by the decisions of the team owner.
"How would you feel if you were working for somebody and they told you not to come to work for two weeks? It would kind of knock the wind out of your sails.
We will see how it all shakes out, and what the real outcome of it is going to be"
Musgrave fell behind early after a green flag pit stop just prior to a caution, finishing twenty- ninth, three laps down.
Robby Gordon is scheduled to pilot the car at the Road course at Sears Point prior to Wallace returning to the car for the July event in Daytona.