Smith Set To Sail With Mast
December 11, 2000 | 12:00 P.M. EST
Smith, the owner of Ultra Motorsports, told RacingOne he hopes to end a lot of speculation surrounding his Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series teams in the next few days.
There had been some talk of Mike Wallace, who drives for Smith’s truck team, making the move to Smith’s No. 7 team in Winston Cup. But Smith is under pressure from Dodge to keep Wallace in one of his two truck teams in order to have a championship contender for the upcoming season.
With that being the case, Smith says it’s looking like Mast will get the nod for the No. 7.
"I like Rick Mast a lot," Smith says. "If I could do it today, I’d put Rick Mast in the car and Mike Wallace in the truck and just go racing. But I’m not the only voice in this deal. We’re going to, I can guarantee you, make a decision by the end of this week. I can’t wait any longer. I was hoping to announce it by now, but it’ll be no later than this Friday. If it was my decision it would have been done, but there are other people involved.
"NationsRent (the Winston Cup car sponsor) is evaluating a couple of different people, so at least we have an ace in the hole, and I feel comfortable with that. But right now, that’s where we are."
There had also been some speculation about Smith changing car numbers for his Winston Cup team.
"Our car will be No. 7 and NationsRent is looking for a replacement sponsor for the rear quarterpanel on the car," Smith says. "We’re also staying pretty busy in the transition for switching from Chevrolet to Ford. Once we get that, we’ll be ready to race."
In a bit of strange twist, Smith says while Wallace will return to the truck series as one of his two drivers, he won’t be driving for the same team he did in 2000. Scott Riggs is taking over the reins of the No. 2 ASE Dodge, while Wallace would move to the No. 5 Mopar Dodge.
Smith has tried to get the No. 1 for his Mopar team, but says in all likelihood it will be the No. 5.
While Smith says it’s not totally out of the question that Mast won’t end up in the No. 7, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.
"We’re real close to finalizing it," Smith says. "It’s obvious Scott Riggs is going to be one of our drivers and Mike Wallace will be another of our drivers. Hopefully in the next few days, this will all be put to rest. We know Mike Wallace is more than capable of winning a championship in the truck series. But Mike is kind of an uncertainty in Winston Cup, even though I think he would do extremely well there.
"So the Dodge truck teams are very important here at Ultra Motorsports, and we can’t let the Winston Cup Series take away drivers from the truck series."