They wanted to have a solid run, keep the car in one piece, finish on the lead lap and get the best possible finish they could out of the 43-car field. And, that’s exactly what the Newt Moore-led team did in front of 56,000 fans spread out around the road course.
His teammate for the weekend, Matt Bell, was making his first NASCAR start in the No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet. He’s a regular on the Continental Tire Challenge Series circuit; which was a companion event to the weekend’s activities.
During the two practice sessions on Friday, Wallace and team were 24th in the first one and 29th in the second. When qualifying took place on Saturday morning, he was lined up in 28th place on the grid. Bell qualified 42nd in the No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet for his first NASCAR start.
Once the race started, Wallace did what he always does best and bided his time to move up the scoring chart. For the early part of the 50-lap event, he did manage to pick up enough positions to crack the top-20 ranks.
There were enough cautions (five) to bring the No. 01 Chevrolet down pit road for adjustments, tires and fuel. That kept them in the mix, moving up to 10th at one point, and poised to earn a good finish.
Side-by-side contact with another driver was the only minor damage the car suffered during the race. As the laps clicked down, Wallace kept the car on the racing surface and out of the gravel traps.
That, and a well-handling car, is the key to success at a track like Road America. When the checkered flag finally flew, Wallace and team crossed under the starter’s stand in 19th place. Bell completed his first NNS outing with a 34th-place finish.
The No. 01 team’s top-20 finish keeps them 13th in Driver’s Standings trailing 12th by only nine markers.
This weekend, the NNS heads to Kentucky Speedway for a Friday night race.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “I kind of left too much on the track for qualifying, and I would’ve liked to have that back to do over again. We stayed out trouble during the race and took advantage of pit cycles to get around car better for the finish.
“Towards the end, the car was getting loose in the turns and it slowed us more than I would have liked. I really wanted a better finish, especially since we had a top-five run at Road America last year.
“But, now we’ll head to Kentucky for a race under the lights this Friday and look forward to a good run finish.”