It wasn't that long ago when some race fans thought they had seen the last of Mike Wallace. Wallace, who has been a staple in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for several seasons, seemed to be a man without a ride. The 55-year-old driver was replaced at JD Motorsports by Landon Cassill and Jeffery Earnhardt in January. Wallace had been with the organization the past five seasons and had done a decent job with the small organization competing against the biggest teams in the sport.
Everyone thought that Wallace, who coming into the season was third on the NASCAR Nationwide Series' all-time starts list with 482, may have made his last start in the series. That was until a new team formed with one of the owners being former crew chief and driver Carl Long. The team would be called JGL Motorsports and would use old Penske Racing Dodge chassis and Dodge engines. The team announced in February that they tabbed the veteran Wallace to drive the team's #28 Dodge in the season opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Wallace, who is considered a Superspeedway ace by many in the sport, took the opportunity even though the team didn't have a lot of funding. Obstacle one for Wallace was just to qualify the car into the show. Wallace went out and put that year old chassis in the 25th position in qualifying, locking his team into the show. Wallace beat out the likes of Chris Buescher and David Ragan. Buescher is driving for Roush Fenway Racing in 2014 and to beat him is impressive. David Ragan was running the #98 Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing and Ragan, who is a two time winner in the Sprint Cup Series at a Superspeedway track, was a favorite to make the show even though his team didn't have points. It was a good job by Wallace to get his team into the field for the race.
The team came to Daytona with a strategy to get points and Wallace did just that. After a strategy where the team wanted to make sure they were there at the end of the race. Wallace survived the day and mixed it up at the end of event and finished an impressive 13th. It was a good day for Wallace and his team. The team set their sites on Phoenix with the goal of making the top 30 in their minds. Wallace and the team finished an impressive 20th beating teams with much more experience and a lot more funding than JGL Motorsports has. The team now puts their focus on Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the Boyd Gaming 300.
Wallace sits 10th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings after two events and that was something not many people saw coming. At 55-years-old Mike Wallace has proven so far in 2014 that he is a long way from not being competitive in the sport. If the run at JGL Motorsports can keep up for Wallace it would be the talk of the 2014 Nationwide Series season.Tags: JGL Motorsports, Mike Wallace, Motorsports, NASCAR Nationwide Series