CHARLOTTE (May 17, 2003) - Mike Wallace got spun out on the first lap, then got clipped on the fifth lap and the result was a frustrating 16th place finish for the damaged U.S. Army car in Saturday evening's Winston Open race at Lowe's Motor ...
CHARLOTTE (May 17, 2003) - Mike Wallace got spun out on the first lap, then got clipped on the fifth lap and the result was a frustrating 16th place finish for the damaged U.S. Army car in Saturday evening's Winston Open race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Wallace, who started fourth in the 20-lap, non-points event, was just getting a feel for the 1.5-mile oval when Ken Schrader slid into him as the 27-car field was in the process of completing the first lap.
Though the contact sent the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix into a smoking spin, Wallace was able to save the car from making any contact. However, the incident did cost Wallace valuable track position as he was forced to come into the pits to make a four-tire change.
"It was a tough start," said Wallace, who is substituting for the injured Jerry Nadeau. "We drove through one and two on the outside and felt we had a pretty good racecar. We got down into turn three and unfortunately another car got into our left rear and turned us around. We were really fortunate the U.S. Army car didn't get wrecked because we spun in front of the whole field. When I was turning sideways I was thinking this is going to hurt. We saved it, but the hit was costly in track position, especially in a 20-lap sprint race."
Four laps later as Wallace was fighting his way back to the front, his black and gold car got tagged again when he was attempting to avoid a multi-car accident. The Army of One car suffered significant aerodynamic damage to the right side, which basically ended any chance of Wallace making the 14-car transfer field for the final 10-lap segment.
"I tried to miss the wreck but somebody drove into us and got the whole aero part of the car all screwed up," explained Wallace. "These cars are so aerodynamically sensitive that it made it almost an impossible situation to overcome the problems in this type of a race. It was really unfortunate because we had the package for a good run tonight."
The next race for Wallace and the U.S. Army team will be next Sunday (May 25), the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.