Martinsville Mike Wallace; the big picture

MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 11, 2000) - The last time Mike Wallace put the ...

MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 11, 2000) - The last time Mike Wallace put the #2 Team ASE Ford through its paces, the end result was a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory and a $10,000 bonus for winning from the pole at Bakersfield, CA. In the NAPA 250 at Martinsville Speedway Monday, Wallace came up a close second to winner Bobby Hamilton, but this time the bonus might have been even better. "With about 50 laps to go, my team owner, Jim Smith, came on the radio and reminded me to look at the big picture," said Wallace, alluding to the NCTS season points chase. "We didn't want to burn up the truck chasing Hamilton down. We were really racing the guys behind us for points. We knew that Andy Houston, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle were having bad days. That was more in our favor the longer we ran. We were able to stay ahead of Jack Sprague, Joe Ruttman and the rest of that group, so that made it a great day for us." The solid second panned out in the title chase as Wallace now leads Houston by a 59-point margin (848-789) and Sprague by 109 markers. There is also now a 251-point gap between Wallace's Team ASE front-running Ford F-150 and the 10th-place truck of Rick Crawford. Wallace won the pole for the 250-lap event on the .526-mile Martinsville oval last Friday and then had to wait two extra days to race when Saturday's event was drenched by wet weather. At the drop of the green flag Monday, the St. Louis, MO driver was content to ride near the front slipping comfortably into a truck-saving pace. Staying in sight of the leaders, Wallace eventually took the top spot pacing the field to a restart on Lap 138. A solid right-side tires pit stop kept Wallace at the front of the pack as the event hammered its way into the final 75 laps. Hamilton, fifth after the final pit stop, sliced his way through the pack and into the lead with 50 circuits left. That left Wallace to fight the bigger points battle keeping Sprague, Dennis Setzer and Steve Grissom, the rest of the Top-5 finishers, in his mirror. Wallace took home $24,225 for the effort in the event that featured 9 caution flags for 51 laps. "My team did a wonderful job," said Wallace. "The Team ASE Ford ran good, our pit stops were great. You can't ask for more than that. Bobby Hamilton's truck could turn better in the middle of the corner than mine could. We thought our truck was really good. His was just a little bit better than ours was. We've had two wins, two seconds and two poles in just five races this season. We're doing what we expected to do and we are where we want to be in the points. This is exactly the start to the season that we wanted." Wallace and the rest of the Team ASE bunch will have a week extra to prepare for the next event on the NCTS tour at Portland, OR, Saturday, April 22. The race on the nine turn, 1.967-mile Portland road course, will be telecast by ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Kurt Busch , Dennis Setzer , Rick Crawford , Joe Ruttman , Steve Grissom , Jim Smith