Wallace: Double Indy Pleasure
July 30, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
And while racing at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park – tracks that are only a few miles apart – can be a logistical nightmare with traffic and scheduling conflicts, Wallace is looking forward to the challenge for several reasons.
Not the least of which Wallace gets to race a Winston Cup car again for the first time in three weeks, and in one of the most prestigious events on the Winston Cup circuit –Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at IMS. To top it all off, he’ll get to showcase his sponsor – Stacker 2 – in both the Winston Cup race and Busch Series race at IRP on Saturday night.
What more could Wallace, priming himself for a return full-time to Winston Cup in 2003, ask for out of a weekend?
“This is what you live for,” Wallace said. “You always get excited every week when you race the Busch car, but I get doubly excited about getting back into a Winston Cup car. This will be the third of four Winston Cup races we’ve got scheduled with Innovative Motorsports, and we want to make a big splash, especially at the Brickyard 400.
“The Brickyard 400 rates second only to the Daytona 500. I’m always excited to head to the races, but I’m really excited about going to the Brickyard. The event is like the biggest county fair ever; you can’t walk two steps without running into gracious fans or well-wishers. It’s just awesome. That sort of fan enthusiasm just rocks.”
Wallace is rumored to be headed to the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing team next season, and bringing his Busch Series sponsor, Stacker 2, with him up to Winston Cup. Wallace and the Stacker 2 team have already competed in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona and the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway earlier this month.
A blown tire resulted in Wallace hitting the wall at Daytona, and a broken alternator belt relegated Wallace to a 29th place finish at Chicagoland after he qualified a respectable 24th.
“Going to the Pepsi 400 was really big for IMI and STACKER 2, and making our first ever Winston Cup start was a really proud moment for all of us,” said crew chief Gary Kennon. “Our team worked their butts off and everyone just shined, we just couldn’t control the bad luck that came our way. These guys have worked so hard, not just the STACKER 2 guys, but also everyone at IMI to make this Winston Cup effort a success.
“I also need to credit DEI for their assistance. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hours to go out and qualify for these races when you don’t compete in the Winston Cup Series week in and week out. Qualifying in the top fifteen the first time out was just amazing and to have a solid starting position in the second race at a place we’ve never even tested, just shows what we are capable of.”
Wallace will have to take a helicopter to and from IMS and IRP, with the exception of Friday. His first Winston Cup practice will be Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, however, the Busch Series cars will begin practice at 12:30 p.m. ET and will continue to practice until 2:30 p.m. Winston Cup teams will practice at IMS from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and will have “Happy Hour” from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Busch Series qualifying is set for 4:30 p.m. ET, so Wallace will have to miss Winston Cup “Happy Hour.” The green flag is scheduled to drop on the Kroger 200 Busch Series race at IRP at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
Wallace has had some strong, solid runs in the Busch Series this season, but none have translated into a victory. Wallace has never finished in the Top 5 at IRP, and wants desperately to become the second Wallace to win a race there.
Mike Wallace came home victorious at the .686-mile facility in 1994.
“I always like going back to IRP to race because it’s such a neat little track, and we’ve got a great shot to win that race,” said Wallace, who’s currently ninth in the Busch Series points standings.