BUSCH: Michigan: Round 25 preview

Birthday bash? Steve Wallace would like to celebrate his 19th in Victory Lane DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2006) -- The learning curve continues for second-generation driver Steve Wallace (No. 64 CARFAX Dodge). Will it accelerate this...

Birthday bash? Steve Wallace would like to celebrate his 19th in Victory Lane

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2006) -- The learning curve continues for second-generation driver Steve Wallace (No. 64 CARFAX Dodge).

Will it accelerate this weekend at Michigan International Speedway?

The son of former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace is immersed in on-the-job training this season that includes a mixture of racing series -- most notably, the NASCAR Busch Series.

This week's syllabus returns him to Michigan, where he's scheduled to drive a Rusty Wallace Inc. Dodge in Saturday's CARFAX 250. It's his second visit to MIS -- he won the ARCA RE/MAX Series event there last Aug. 18 -- but a NASCAR Busch Series victory particularly would ice the cake.

The birthday cake, that is. Steve Wallace turns 19 on Friday.

"It was probably the best birthday present I ever got," he said of last season's Michigan experience. "It would be awesome to celebrate my 19th birthday in Victory Lane -- you know, kind of making it a tradition.

Awesome-ness will multiply should Steve Wallace reach Victory Lane a day later. Guaranteed a spot in the CARFAX 250 field -- the No. 64 is 16th in the NASCAR Busch Series owners point standings -- Wallace will concentrate first on Saturday's qualifying session, then the event. The Michigan race marks the younger Wallace's 11th NASCAR Busch Series start of 2006 and 12th overall.

Good memories -- of last season's victory -- and good equipment should help. In Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series qualifying session, Wallace will drive the same car that NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regular Jamie McMurray has driven in two top-five and three top-10 finishes this season.

As for Wallace's last outing? A 30th-place finish two weeks ago at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and three consecutive finishes of 30th or worse have him hoping for better results at Michigan, although the soon-to-be-19-year-old knows inconsistency is part of the acclimation process.

"Over the last few weeks, our teams have really started improving a whole lot," Wallace said. "Even though I didn't get the best finish in Indy, we still learned a lot and were able to gain some points."

His 2006 learning curve has veered upward on occasions, including a season-best finish of 11th at Kentucky in June.

"I am really optimistic going into Michigan," Wallace said. "It's a fast track and I'm excited to get to run there. I won there last year, so I feel like I know how to get around the place."

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jamie McMurray , Steve Wallace