It has been five years since Mike Wallace last raced in NASCAR. Once the pandemic subsides and allows racing to resume, he will be back behind a stock car in the Xfinity Series. On Tuesday, JD Motorsports announced it has signed Wallace for July’s Pennzoil 150 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It will be his first NASCAR action since 2015.
“Johnny (Davis) and I have always kept a good dialogue going through the years,” Wallace said. “We started talking about my doing something with his team again and when the idea of Indy came up, we both agreed that was the perfect place.
“I was part of the first Cup race there in 1994 with Junie [Donlavey] and the first Xfinity race in 2012 with Johnny. This is a pretty big deal to be part of the inaugural series race on the road course, and the first under the ownership of Roger Penske.”
Wallace’s latest NASCAR national series start came in the Cup Series, when he finished thirty-sixth in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Premium Motorsports. He attempted the two Cup races after that, but failed to qualify. He has fourteen top-ten finishes and a best run of second at Phoenix Raceway in 2001 during a part-time stint for now-Team Penske.
“Roger is an icon in this sport and I was fortunate to have driven for him in eight races during the 2001 season,” Wallace added. “Being part of this race with Johnny as the team owner and Roger as the track owner is pretty special. I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again for this race.”
Although Wallace never won at the top level, he has enjoyed success in the Xfinity and Truck Series. He is a four-time Xfinity race winner, while he enjoyed five Truck victories and a fourth-place points finish in 2000. Wallace raced for JDM on a full-time basis from 2010 to 2013, during which he scored four top tens, including a fifth at Road America in 2011, and a highest standings finish of twelfth in 2012.
The younger brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace, his latest Xfinity start was a thirteenth-place finish in the 2015 season opener at Daytona International Speedway with JGL Racing.
Wallace has raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway four times (twice in Cup and Xfinity apiece). Although he never finished higher than twentieth in any of the runs, he won at the nearby Lucas Oil Raceway in 1994. Still, neither of these statistics truly matter for the Pennzoil 150, which will be NASCAR’s first foray on the IMS road course. Other notable entrants include three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart.
“Mike is a good and dependable driver who will bring a lot of veteran knowledge to the team,” Davis commented. “We’ll be ready for him and I know he’ll be ready to go racing again.”