Mike Wallace reveres Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2004) -- This is a pretty amazing statistic for Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO/Sport Clips Ford). Wallace recorded top-10 finishes in NASCAR's top-three series -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR...
Mike Wallace reveres Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2004) -- This is a pretty amazing statistic for Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO/Sport Clips Ford).
Wallace recorded top-10 finishes in NASCAR's top-three series -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series -- while driving for three different manufacturers in February, 2003. Wallace began the streak with a sixth-place run in the Truck race, then came home fourth in the next day's NASCAR Busch Series event. Finally, he capped off the weekend with a ninth-place showing in the Daytona 500.
So, it comes as no surprise that Wallace calls himself a "big, big fan" of restrictor-plate racing in general and of Daytona in particular.
"I am really looking forward to Daytona," Wallace says. "Restrictor-plate racing allows the driver to have a little more control over how the team does than say the mile-and-a-half tracks, where your car has to be almost perfect to run well. I know some guys hate restrictor-plate racing. I've always been real fond of racing at Daytona and Talladega.
"I think I understand the draft and the patience it takes to run well at those tracks. You can't make passes by yourself. So you have to wait until the right time to make your move. I look on it as a challenge, a high-speed chess match. You have to know when to move and where to move." Don't look for Wallace to panic if he finds himself in the middle of a three-wide pack of cars.
"I look on it as an easy way to gain positions," Wallace adds. "This is especially the case if you don't qualify well."
Qualifying for the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Cars will be impounded afterward, which Wallace sees as a benefit.
"That will eliminate anything special you would do to the car for qualifying," Wallace says. "We are not a team that has all that trick stuff to find three or four [tenths of a second] for qualifying. We seem to do better when we just practice, qualify and race.
"Daytona is a race track where the GEICO/Sport Clips team has run well. We are taking the same car and running the same chassis that we ran earlier this year at Daytona and Talladega. We had a good car both places. I know exactly the feel I want at those tracks and when I get in the car, I can tell if it is right or not."