Mike Wallace/Team ASE Bakersfield Post Race Report

BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 27) - Mike Wallace was more than happy to take the lion's share of bows in Victory Lane after a last-lap pass to win the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona. On Sunday, Wallace deflected the...

BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 27) - Mike Wallace was more than happy to take the lion's share of bows in Victory Lane after a last-lap pass to win the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona. On Sunday, Wallace deflected the glory after steering his #2 Team ASE Ford to victory in the Dodge Trucks 250 at Bakersfield, CA. "What can you say about this team?" said Wallace in Victory Lane. "We didn't do well last week at Phoenix and they really stepped it up today. They got me out first on the last group that pitted and that made the difference. The guys that stayed out and didn't take left side tires at the end didn't have a chance. One thing about this driver is that it's never over until it's over. It was a great day." Wallace started the weekend off in fine fashion winning the pole with a 19.069-second (94.304 miles per hour) tour of the Mesa Marin Raceway high-banked oval. The St. Louis, MO driver led a good portion of the event only to see veteran Joe Ruttman, the winner last week at Phoenix, assume the top spot in the late going. That proved to be even more of an incentive for Wallace to drive back toward the front. "The boys on the team have been telling me I got beat last week by a 54-year old man in a Plymouth," said Wallace of Ruttman, who crashed just laps from the finish. "Well, we beat him today. Honestly, I hated to see that Joe got torn up there at the end, I'd have liked to have had the chance to race him for the win." Wallace had plenty of suitors at the finish as rookie Kurt Bush closed to the rear tailgate of the Team ASE Ford in the final laps. In the end, however, it was Wallace taking his second NCTS victory of the season and the fourth of his career. The $36,449 winner's purse also proved to be significant as it pushed Wallace over the $1 million mark in career NCTS earnings. Finally, the victory was even sweeter as it boosted Wallace back atop the NCTS season championship points chase by a 673-659 margin over Andy Houston. "Today is Jim Smith's birthday and this win makes him a great birthday present," said Wallace of his team owner. " There's good chemistry on this team - we keep each other pumped up and focused on our goal which is to win the championship." "I'm really proud of this team, especially after last week," added Smith. "They had an off day, no a bad day at Phoenix last week, but they all pulled together and worked hard this week to get back on track to accomplish our goal this year, which is to win the truck series championship. That's our goal for the year, and if we accomplish that, we'll have our share of wins along the way." Wallace and the rest of the Team ASE bunch will take a weekend off before heading for the fifth stop on the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour - the NAPA 250 at Martinsville, VA. The Saturday, April 8 event will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and will be telecast live on ESPN.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Joe Ruttman , Jim Smith