March 22, 1999 – Mike Wallace Speeds To First Career NCTS Win
Mike Wallace, #2 Team ASE Ford F-150: "It’s so damn
good to win this race. I’ve got to thank Ultra Motorsports, Team
ASE, Snap-On Tools, Wagner Brakes, Robert Yates for doing the
engines, all those ASE Certified Mechanics out there. I’ll tell
you what I didn’t want to see that caution come out with the 25.
Ron was back there and they were racing eachother. It was a phenomenal
day." YOU MENTIONED THE CAUTION. THERE WERE SEVERAL TODAY.
DID YOU THINK TO YOURSELF, MAN THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SOMETHING
THAT HAS GONE WRONG? "You’re right. I was, but I just stayed
calm. The 16 truck helped me win this race by teaching me some
stuff last year. I’d like to take my hat off to the 16 crew. We
had some killer restarts. Ron helped us out there." DID YOU
THINK IT WOULD BE THIS TOUGH TO WIN IN THIS SERIES? "I didn’t
think so initially, but the competition is so tough, so darn tough.
I’m with a great race team. That’s the main thing. They’ve worked
their butts off. They worked every week on pit stops. We really
picked up on pit stops. If we didn’t come in leading, we left
leading. They did a phenomenal job. Kenny and Rusty are at Darlington,
and I hope they will have great runs tomorrow.
Rick Crawford, #14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150:
"We made a tire change there with about 30 laps to go,
and that was a good move for us because we had a right front going
down. We went to church this morning, and that included church
service and (crew chief) George Church. He did a great job and
put a good truck under us. I was running fifth there with the
green, white, checker, and I wanted to run first and that made
me go back to ninth. But we gave it a shot."
Tim Steele, #21 HS Motorsports Ford F-150: "We had
a motor let go. We had a piston lock up on us, and made our day
a little short. But we’ll get there. We’ll recover from it, and
we’ll be back next week."
Randy Nelson, #26 Mittler Brothers Ford F-150: "We
were running good. The chassis was good, and we were going to
work on it during the first pit stop. We ended up throwing a dry
sump belt off, and we lost pressure. We replaced it, but when
we went back out we broke the motor before we got it up to speed.
Mittler Brothers and American Trucking have done good for us,
and we got here, and hopefully we’ll get to Phoenix next week."
Ernie Cope, #27 Hastings Premium Filters Ford F-150: "The
motor blew up. It lost a cylinder, and we kept going hoping a
caution would come out, but we dropped a valve. We were hoping
to get some laps here and get the experience. It’s been a long
weekend. We’ve just got to get to Phoenix and go on from there."
Kevin Cywinski, #31 Auto Trim Design Ford F-150: "I’ve
got give credit to this whole crew. They practiced pit stops all
winter, and we were gaining spots every time. That really gives
a driver confidence. It was a great debut for our sponsor, Auto
Trim Design. It’s a great foot to get off on. Hopefully we can
carry it through the season."
Greg Biffle, #50 Grainger Ford F-150: "My guys did
a great job. I just think there was a lack of respect on the race
track. It was a tough day out there. A couple of trucks got into
me, but my guys did a great job. We kept coming back, and coming
back. Finally after the last incident, I decided I wasn’t going
to pass anybody. I was going to stay right there and finish. They
were all going crazy out there. I’ve never seen guys race like
that. We had a good truck. We got off sync and got back in the
pack a little bit. But we came back, and we care about the points.
We’ll go to Phoenix with our other truck."
Ron Barfield, #55 Icehouse Beer Ford F-150: "We were
racing to win. We had a truck that could have won today. Icehouse
Beer and Tom Gloy and Bobby Rahal, they’ve given me excellent
support. It is a good race truck. It was just that somebody hooked
us on the right rear there and turned us into the fence. But hey,
it was no big deal. It was just one of those things. We’ll go
onto Phoenix next week. There at the last it must have got a hole
in the radiator, and it burned the motor up too. That’s what stopped
us there at the last. But it was a good race, good truck, good
team." WHAT HAPPENED WITH JACK SPRAGUE? "I didn’t see
him. I never even looked up in the mirror there because he was
a long way behind me in the middle of the corner. When I came
up off of the corner he didn’t have enough of a nose in there.
You have to give and take out there, and I guess he took a little
bit. It’s no big deal."
Mike Stefanik, #66 Carlin Burners & Controls Ford F-150:
"It’s great. I feel great. What can I say. I’m just thankful
Dale Phelon gave me a chance to come and run in this truck series.
I love racing with them guys. I used to run on the treadmill,
and look at Ron Hornaday’s back bumper, and just say, ‘this is
what I want to do when I get to him. I dreamed of that.’ Someone
said to me when you leave here tomorrow you’re going to have twice
as much experience as you’ve had. This is my second truck race.
These guys know how to race. This is a great series, and Miami-Homestead
is a great race track. I’m just so happy. I haven’t ever been
so happy about a second. I’m kind of tired. The Ford is a super
truck. Ford was one-two. What else can you say. Sprague had a
real tough truck, and he had misfortune. A lot was happening out
there. I didn’t see it all, but it certainly was exciting."
YOU WERE IN A TESTING ACCIDENT. HOW DO YOU FEEL? "I’m telling
you I’m here to say I was worried. I was pretty scared. I went
to a chiropractor. I didn’t sleep good. I didn’t eat. I just laid
there. I couldn’t get up out of bed. I was worried. I didn’t want
to hit anything here. I felt good enough to race the race, but
god forbid if I hit anything. I would have been out for a long
time. My neck is just not 100 percent. My guys did a great job
with head supports. My head was just stuck in there, but it was
okay. The better the truck ran, the more excited I got. You see
some of those tough trucks get torn up, I’m just glad it wasn’t
me because I couldn’t have taken any of those hits."
Kevin Harvick, #98 Porter-Cable Power Tools Ford F-150: "The
water pump had been leaking all day, and finally it just spit
all the water out and the motor went. The Porter-Cable F-150 was
awesome. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was just pouring
water on the tires, and it was sliding all around. We’ll be back
Mike Bliss, #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150: "We were
better than the 24 truck. He just out-motored us. I had him in
the corners, and he came down on me, and I hit him in the left
rear. I let off so I wouldn’t spin him out, and look where I ended
up. It doesn’t pay to be a good guy out there. Next time I won’t
NOTES FROM MIKE WALLACE’S POST-RACE INTERVIEW
TODAY’S WIN WAS THE FIRST FOR MIKE WALLACE IN THE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LAST COUPLE RESTARTS? "Man,
they were wearing me out. Any time you’re leading a race, we’ve
all lost races in the closing laps. Jim Smith had reminded me
they had lost races that way before the race started. They had
lost a few that way. They drug it out. It was Randy down there
that was tore up. It’s a shame he wrecked there."
THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE RACED MIKE STEFANIK. WHAT WERE
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LAST RESTART? "Mike Stefanik is a great
race car driver. I watched him run everything else. I wasn’t going
to race him any different or take him any more lightly than I
would Hornaday or Sprague." WHAT WAS
THE WISH YOU HAD ON TUESDAY? "This was the wish. It was kind
of unique because we had dinner for Benny and Terry Parsons and
they had a birthday cake for me told me to make a wish. And he
looked me square in the eye, and he said I know what that wish
was, and I said yeah I hope it comes true."
HOW OLD ARE YOU? "40 years old and 10 days." WITH 10
TO 15 LAPS TO GO, YOU AND RON WERE
REALLY BATTLING IT OUT. TALK ABOUT THAT. "Ron is a really
great guy in a race. Ron is a friend of mine. We race eachother
hard. What happened was that somebody lost a motor down in three,
and he drove down in there and I seen the front end of his truck
start to slip, and I just got onto the brakes hard and I slid.
Then I got to turn underneath him and make a run to the corner.
And we came to the caution. That was a big turning point to the
race. Ron didn’t have as fresh a tires as I did, and considering
what he had told me last night, he said he was absolutely junk,
and would be thrilled to death to finish in the top ten. So he
did a heck of a great job."
THIS WAS YOUR FIRST RACE WITH THIS TEAM? "Jim and Marlene
Smith who own Ultra Motorsports, Team ASE, Snap-On Tools, Wagner
Brakes, Ford, I’d like to thank them immensely for a great opportunity.
I told somebody going into this race, I’ve got all the parts and
pieces. Now it’s up to me and the team to get it done."
DID EVERYTHING FIT TOGETHER TODAY? "I don’t know if you guys
got to watch pit road today, but it fit together. They kicked
their butt on pit road. They worked hard. We’ve got all new guys.
They’re just young and enthusiastic. One used to be a cop. Another
one was an ASE Certified Mechanic. Whatever time it took they
practiced pit stops. They just gave a thousand percent. They said
why do you think we need to work so hard, and I gave them a scenario.
We’re at Homestead, and we’re leading the race. We’re coming down
pit road. Are we going to lead it leaving? They helped me lead
it. Our team is perfect right now."
WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ANY DIFFERENT WITH STEFANIK BEHIND YOU THAN
THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN IF IT HAD BEEN HORNADAY OR SPRAGUE? "I’m
kind of sitting there thinking, well Mike is back there and he
will be thrilled with second, or he should be. He could go for
the win, but he’s not going to do anything stupid. That was my
own thought. Ron was back there. I knew I had to have a killer
restart. On previous restarts I know I had spun the tires leading
the thing so I was real cautious when Stefanik was behind me that
I had total traction on the restarts. So I got a three or four
truck length lead, and it just kind of held out there."
HOW WOULD YOU HAVE FELT IF YOU HAD FINISHED SECOND? "Today?
I’d have been very disappointed. We said we would be happy leaving
here in the top-five. I’ve lead enough races and lost that I know
it hurts. Competition is so tough any more in any division whether
it is Busch or the Cup deal. These wins are so tough to come by.
This could be our last win of the year. I don’t believe it will
be, but we’re going to savor every moment of it right now."
YOU MADE CELL PHONE CALLS IN WINNERS’ CIRCLE. WHO WERE THEY TO?
"Actually it was my wife. My daughter (Lindsey) had her first
horse show today, and she won it. She’s 13 years old, and it was
the first time she had traveled out of town. The race was tape
delayed, and they were at the horse show. She was going to come
down here this week. My wife and children were coming, and unfortunately
her mother had some medical problems, and she thought it was best
to stay home with her. Unfortunately she wasn’t here to celebrate
with us so we wanted to get her to celebrate as quick as we could.
She was in the Raleigh-Durham area. She does quarter-horse, hunter,
jumper, the show stuff. I guess English is what I’m trying to
say. I don’t know a whole lot about horse. I just pay for her
stuff. I like the horse power I can shut the switch off and turn
the wheel. When she (wife Carla) hung up the phone last night,
she said when you win tomorrow call me. I said okay. So I did
what she told me to."
YOU’VE WON IN BUSCH AND YOU’VE WON IN ARCA? CAN YOU PUT THE WINS
IN CONTEXT? "One of the first big races I ever won was the
ARCA race at Daytona. Driving into victory lane in Daytona was
big. This was a huge win. I’d say equal to those wins. The last
race I won was the Pocono ARCA race in 1996, and I’d won three
in a row. I was close last year at Homestead. I lead the race,
and with five to go got in an altercation. Winning a race is so
hard. I remember a comment Mark Martin made to me. He said he
was miserable, and I asked what was wrong. He said he hadn’t won
in a year. He said, I may never win again. He was dead serious.
We feel we can win again. We won today, so I feel very confident.
And this isn’t just about me. It’s about all the guys on the team,
Ultra Motorsports. We sat down a couple of weeks ago and had a
team meeting, and tried to come up with a theme tee shirt for
our team. Since Ultra is the name of Jim Smith’s wheel company,
we made up a team tee shirt that says Ultra Bad Boys. We had them
in the trailer, and we weren’t bringing out until we did something.
Anybody that was in victory lane, we had some black tee shirts
that said "We’re 2 (the number two) bad, and on the back
it says We’re Ultra Bad"
DESCRIBE THE RACE TEAMS AND THE MANUFACTURER. "The race teams
haven’t been that big a deal, and the main reason was that Timmy
Kohuth, who was my crew chief over at Schrader Racing for the
last two years came with me. We came as a package I guess. We
felt that going to Ultra Motorsports was the best chance we had
to win races. We had the proper funding. We had engines from Robert
Yates. If you are going to have a Ford it is one of the best you
can have. We have a car owner who says whatever you guys need,
tell me. If it’s within my means I’ll provide it for you. We’ve
got a beautiful race shop. And it was up to us. The transition
has been absolutely flawless. The team is just as enthusiastic
as heck. Our sponsors are wonderful people. ASE, Snap-On, Wagner
Brakes. We came here as a new team. There were only three guys
on the team who had raced together last year."
WHAT IS THE EMOTION OF WINNING YOUR FIRST TRUCK RACE HERE? "I
was trying to hit my mark those last two laps perfect. Stefanik
was three or four truck lengths behind, and I knew if I was straight
he wasn’t going to catch me. As soon as I got the wheel straight,
I keyed the radio and said boys, go get them tee shirts. We just
won us a truck race. I wanted to do donuts so bad. And they’re
going, they want you in victory lane, they want you in victory
lane. It’s a pretty big deal with ABC so you want to get there
for television. But I wanted to do donuts up and down the front
straight-away. With the CART race here, you always watched Alex
Zanardi. He was the master of those things. He had a front wheel
brake lock or something."
NUMBER TWO WALLACE. "It’s kind of unique. Rusty is number
two, and Jim Smith had this number all the time. It was nothing
to do with me or Rusty. We won a truck race here today with. We’re
going to run four Winston Cup races this year, and four Winston
West races. We’re going to Phoenix next week, and run the truck
race and the Winston West race, so we’ve got a lot of cool things