Wallace begins climb to the top By Matthew Leach MONROE, Wash. - To get a feel for the kind of racing luck that Mike Wallace has had this season, consider that he turned in his first top-10 of 1998 in Saturday's NAPACARD 200 at Evergreen...
Wallace begins climb to the top By Matthew Leach
MONROE, Wash. - To get a feel for the kind of racing luck that Mike Wallace has had this season, consider that he turned in his first top-10 of 1998 in Saturday's NAPACARD 200 at Evergreen Speedway. To get an idea of the kind of competitor Wallace is, consider that he was disappointed with his fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' fifth race this year.
Wallace entered 1998 expecting to contend for a series championship in his first full season with Ken Schrader's Purolator PureOne Chevrolet team. He posted seven top-10s in 15 races, including a best of second, and the team believed it would improve on those performances.
However, an accident at Walt Disney World and engine problems at Homestead dropped Wallace far back into the standings, and he's only recently begun to dig out of that hole.
His top-five at Evergreen marks a big step in the right direction, as the team climbed from 25th to 21st in the standings, but Wallace knows it could have been much better for the No. 52.
"The Purolator PureOne truck ran well," Wallace said. "We're a little disappointed in fifth because I thought I could at least run second, or third at the worst. But the last couple of weeks haven't been good to us, and this week was pretty decent. So we can build from here. We need to rebound in the points battle, and maybe this will help us a little bit."
Wallace ran second for much of the second half of the race, well behind leader and eventual winner Jack Sprague, but well ahead of Ron Hornaday. He hardly saw another truck near his until the final 40 laps.
But with 34 laps to go, Wallace came up on the lapped truck of Randy Nelson, and bumped Nelson's No. 82 Ford. Wallace was able to get around Nelson shortly thereafter, but Hornaday gained significant ground, and the Purolator truck never seemed to regain its strong form.
"It doesn't help when you get those lapped trucks that you have to race," the St. Louis native said. "They're two laps down and they won't give you a break. One of them about run us into the wall down here.
Shortly thereafter, Hornaday blew by Wallace, and never gave up second place. Two other trucks, the No. 61 of Randy Tolsma and the No. 86 of Stacy Compton, got past the No. 52, which wound up in fifth place.
"I don't know what happened exactly," Wallace said. "We just started sliding, the right front tire, the front end, so bad down in 1 and 2. Thought we had good tire management, and I don't know what happened. I hope a shock or something went bad, that there was a cause."
It's sure to be a hard trek to the top of the points, but another few runs like the one he turned in Saturday and Wallace should be there. His team expects it, and he expects it.
Source: NASCAR Online