GAFFNEY, S.C. (March 25, 2012) – Mike Wallace headed into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway without a sponsor, but with high hopes for a good finish.
The JD Motorsports team left with both after 150 laps of competition at the two-mile oval on Saturday afternoon.
After the single practice session on Friday, Wallace and the Newt Moore-led team were 21st on the practice chart. Their four-time NNS race winner in Wallace backed that up by qualifying 19th before Saturday’s race.
Once the green flag dropped under overcast skies, Wallace maintained a top-20 run as the field worked their way around the huge oval. For the early portion, Wallace worked on the fastest way around the track while the crew waited for caution pit stops to make adjustments.
They’d be waiting a lot because there were only four cautions for 18 laps throughout the race. When the first yellow flag flew on lap 35, Wallace was running 22nd when he hit pit road for tires, fuel and adjustments.
Another one on lap 55 brought more cars to pit road for fuel as they only had 20 laps on their tires. Restarting on lap 63, Wallace was in 22nd place and up to 21st on lap 70, one lap down to the leaders.
Two more cautions in the second half of the race allowed for tires, fuel and adjustments. The one where the JD Motorsports team was really allowed to make a great move was the caution on lap 134.
Electing to take the “wave around” put them back on the lead lap when the restart took place on lap 138. Wallace was lined up in 18th position when the green waved looking to gain more positions with 12 laps remaining.
With three and four-wide racing taking place ahead of him, the No. 01 Global Partner Corp Chevrolet maintained their own pace and came across the stripe in 18th to earn another top-20 finish.
This keeps Wallace 15th in the Driver’s Points, but now trailing 12th by only two markers. The NNS will take a two-week break and return to action on Friday, May 13 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “That was a typical NNS race here in California. This big track takes everything out of the motor and getting the set up just right. We were able to get in some good practice laps and then back that up in qualifying.
“During the race, things were pretty uneventful for this JD Motorsports team. We made the right calls on pit road and were able to take advantage of the wave around there at the end to put us back on the lead lap.
“From there, we just held on for a top-20 finish and brought the No. 01 Global Barter Corp Chevrolet in one piece. I’d like to thank them for coming on board to help us out for this race and hope they had fun.
“Since we’re off for two weeks, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and hope they enjoy the time with family and friends.”