Loudon: Mike Wallace - NASCAR-spotlight

Wallace hopes to become latest winner at New Hampshire DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2005) – He’s on a roll of sorts and nearly has won this week’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway not once, but...

Wallace hopes to become latest winner at New Hampshire

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2005) – He’s on a roll of sorts and nearly has won this week’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway not once, but twice.

That said, Mike Wallace (No. 12 Toyota Tundra Toyota) is as good a pick as any to become the track’s 10th consecutive different winner.

Wallace, a recent returnee to the series in the second of two Darrell Waltrip Motorsports-owned entries, fashioned back-to-back top-10 finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.

That, after the team went 12 races without a finish higher than 18th.

The veteran from St. Louis, tapped by owner Darrell Waltrip to replace Robert Huffman in early August, hasn’t been in the series fulltime since 2000, the season he drove Jim Smith’s Ultra Motorsports Ford to its second runnerup finish at NHIS.

Wallace says he sees many changes – and one in particular.

“The series always has been competitive but in the past you could have picked a handful of drivers that had a chance of winning races,” said Wallace, a four-time series winner. “Now you can put three handfuls of drivers together than can win on any given week.

“The biggest change is that it has become more competitive.”

Wallace believes Toyota’s arrival a year ago stimulated existing manufacturers and teams to step up their programs.

“The competition has been driven by a new manufacturer coming into the sport,” said Wallace. "Representing Darrell Waltrip and the Toyota brand is a privilege. I’m really enjoying driving for both of them.”

Travis Kvapil, now a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, won last year’s Sylvania 200 by Lowe’s in a Tundra to give all four manufacturers victories at the 1.058-mile flat oval.

Wallace, who competes in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, obviously would like to follow that act but admits NHIS is a hard track to master.

“The reason there hasn’t been a repeat winner at Loudon is because it is a difficult racetrack,” he said. "Everybody says it’s a typical one-mile oval but they continue to change the race track almost yearly as far is the banking of the race track."

“They’ve added a lower groove, which is off-camber.”

All of which, notes Wallace, confounds drivers and crew chiefs. Having one good run doesn’t mean the same set-up will work well the next time.

“Not one team has that combination completely figured out there,” said Wallace.

-nascar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Mike Wallace , Robert Huffman , Jim Smith , Travis Kvapil