High hopes for a good run by both the No. 01 G&K Services and No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet teams of JD Motorsports with Gary Keller didn’t pan out the way they hoped in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Mike Wallace, who was 29th and 32nd in the two practice sessions, qualified 34th for the race in the No. 01 Chevrolet. Danny Efland, driving the No. 4 Chevrolet, was 30th in both practice sessions and qualified 27th.
Once the green flag flew for the 200-lap event, Wallace used his veteran wile and moved forward through the field. At times running in the top-20, he would have to make some green flag pit stops so crew chief Newt Moore could call for tires, fuel and adjustments to the car.
While those helped, the heat of the track and rubber being laid down by the 43-car field changed the handling of the JD Motorsports Chevrolet. Battling a loose condition forced Wallace and team to change up their pit calls so the four-time NNS race winner could get through the Kentucky turns better.
The bumps in Turn 1 have become more prominent through the years; which has led to more cautions being caused in Turn 2. However, there were only two all night preventing teams from making more pit stops.
On lap 143, while coming through Turns 3 and 4, the No. 01 Chevrolet was handling loose and made contact with the outside wall. The impact was hard enough to draw the night’s second, and final, caution as debris was found on the frontstretch.
Wallace took his car pit side, then into the garage for repairs by the JD Motorsports team. After the race restarted on lap 150, the team continued to make repairs the best they could to get back on the track.
They were able to return on lap 170, but NASCAR officials deemed they weren’t keeping up to speed and sent them back to the garage. This broke a four-race run of top-20 finishes and saddled the team with 31st-place finish.
Wallace remains 13th in the Driver’s Standings, now trailing 12th by 20 markers. This weekend, the team is headed to Daytona International Speedway with a great sense of purpose with their driver being the 2006 winner of the July event.
Efland and the No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet suffered ignition problems and had to pull into the garage on lap 103. They were forced to take a 34th place finish as a result.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “This was not the finish this team needed or deserved. It felt like we were starting to get dialed in there for a bit. Then the track conditions seemed to change and we were really loose there when we got sent up into the wall.
“I hate our night had to end the way it did after four the runs we’ve had lately. But, I have to give credit to Newt and the guys because there is no ‘quit’ in them. They thrashed on that car and got us back out there to try and finish the race.
“Everyone knows I look forward to Daytona because of how well we do there. This team has raced well at Daytona with top-five and top-10 runs. This time, we just need to get the results Johnny Davis and this whole team deserves when the checkered flag flies.”
JD Motorsports PR