NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Mike Wallace ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
#2 Team ASE/Ultra Motorsports Ford F-150
Dearborn, MI (August 8, 2000)- Being one of the most consistent drivers on the circuit this year, mike Wallace finds himself second in championship points behind Greg Biffle at the three-quarter point in the season. Mike and the entire Team ASE Ford F-150 team look to finish the season strong and make a run at Greg for the 2000 NCTS Championship.
In your opinion, how has the team progressed this year?
"We were an excellent team to begin the season and it has really gotten a lot better. The guys have made a real effort to improve the pitstops and I think that they are starting to shine. There have been some rough times this year where the truck was not the easiest to drive and the guys really worked hard during the race to make it better. I thin that our consistency this year proves our ability to get it right and be there at the end of the race when it counts the most. We are also better able to have the truck close when we come off of the hauler. Timmy (Kohuth, Crew Chief) has done a great job at making the right decisions on the set-up. We really have been working good together and it makes things that much better and easier."
You are running the rest of the season in the #77 Busch Series car as well as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Is it tough to be racing so much?
"I'm a race car driver. That's what I love to do. I was given the opportunity to race the Busch car for the rest of the season after Watkins Glen. If it wasn't with a good team and a good car, I wouldn't have considered it. But to have an opportunity to get some time in a racecar, either Busch or Winston Cup can only make me better prepared for whatever is next. I am happy here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series and am fortunate to be racing with a good team and good equipment. But I also have to be realistic. If I had the chance to go Winston Cup racing, again only with a good team and good equipment, I think that I would be crazy not to consider it."
What has made the greatest impact on your success this season? Can you point to one thing or has it been a combination of things?
"I think it been a combination of things. We have better race trucks. Not only the way they prepared at the track, but also the way there built in the shop. The guys are working better together, they're learning a lot. I think that the team has a lot more experience this season and they are able to make the trucks more comfortable for me to drive. Our motor program has really helped us out a lot as well, having the Penske engines. These engines we get from Penske really make a great deal of power and are very reliable. I think it's a combination of more experience, good motors and trucks, and the guys working really hard."
To what do you attribute your consistency this year? You led the points early and have never really fallen far from the lead?
"Again, I think that it is a combination of things. I have become a better driver this year and the team has become better at realizing what I need in the truck to go fast. I have struggled with qualifying quite a bit, but it seems like we always get the truck set up to race good. Qualifying has never really been my forte. But once it's time to race, we're always ready to go. After winning At Daytona, I think that the team realized that we really had a good program and could win this thing. Then we had some more success and the morale got even better. Even when we were struggling a little bit in the middle of the season, the guys never gave up. I think that they realized that we were good enough to get through this and that there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. Now we're running great every week and the consistency is back. We are a contender to win every week and intend to be there fighting for what Greg leaves for the rest of us. If I can't be the last guy to walk up on to the stage at the banquet, I want to at least be the second to last."
After last year, what do you think of going back to Nashville this weekend?
"Nashville is a tough little racetrack that is very tight. We weren't very good there last year. I had a wreck late in the race. We always kind of look forward to tracks where we didn't do well last time because I feel like I have something to prove. I know that we are a better team this year and are more capable of putting together a good race truck. My confidence level is very high every week and I know that all I have to do is go out there and do my job which is to drive the truck."
With six races left, tell us what you see for the #2 for the rest of the season?
"I think that we have as good a shot as any at catching Greg (Biffle) and giving him a run for the championship. He has really done a good job at increasing his points lead, but I don't think it is insurmountable. Don't forget that he has a teammate in Kurt Busch who is only a few points behind me. These guys really run great as a team and are going to be hard to beat. I think that they have proven that several times this season with their one-two finishes. My guys on the Team ASE Ford F-150 give me a good truck to race every week and I think that we legitimately have a shot at winning every race. We have excellent equipment, a good crew, and Timmy Kohuth making the calls and that's a pretty good combination in itself. I would really like to at least give Greg something to look in his rearview mirror about for the rest of the year. I think that we have a good shot at wining a couple more races this year as well."