Matt Wallace comes from a family of successful racers and has enjoyed plenty of success in his own right. Now, Wallace is hoping to share that experience and success with the next generation of racers, as he is starting Matt Wallace Racing Driver Development.
The driver development program will utilize his existing resources and equipment from his personal racing ventures, as well as the partnerships and relationships he has developed and the legacy of the Wallace racing name.
For Wallace, 2019 feels like the perfect time to transition into this new chapter based on the growth of his program and the people available to help him.
“We did a down-scaled version a couple of years ago,” Wallace told Speed51.com. “This year felt like the right time to do it. With guys that are up-and-coming, there’s a market for it, first of all. At the same time, I feel like we have a respectable enough program to offer for it. We have nice cars, shop, equipment, tractor-trailers with a lounge in it, all that stuff that people may find nice to have. I feel like we have a nice platform.”
Part of that timing includes brand-new cars available for prospective drivers, including both Pro and Super Late Models, as well as the assistance of renowned car builder Robert Hamke and father Mike Wallace.
“We also have all-new cars, Pros and Supers,” said Wallace. “Robbie Hamke, since they sold their organization, he’s working a different job, but he’s willing to help at the shop and go racing with us. I’m kind of crew chiefing it and kind of running it. My dad, Mike, he’s going back Cup racing a little bit this year, but at the same time is offering his knowledge and experience as a driving coach to help these young kids.
“We’ll just try to help them learn what not to do,” Wallace continued. “You can’t teach them everything, but like my dad says, we can help teach you what not to do. He’s willing to offer his services for that from years of experience there. It just felt like everything was coming together nicely. I don’t know how much interest we’re going to have. I think the name will help a little bit, but we’re not relying on that. My family has a lot of recognition and the Hamke name does as well.”
While Wallace does not have a driver lineup yet, he is open to offers and the equipment is ready to go racing.
“We are equipped and ready to go,” explained Wallace. “We have two Super Late Models, a Pro Late Model, all the best you can have. We’re ready to go for it.”
Wallace will still occasionally race himself when the opportunities present themselves. His racing program has been on the rise, particularly in the last two seasons. Last year, Wallace collected his first Super Late Model win in a Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model event at Concord Speedway (NC).
“I feel like we’ve had a really good run the past two years,” said Wallace. “We were in position to run good in races. A couple of races, we had some issues, but our runs have been respectable enough to know how good our cars are and what they’re capable of.
“Concord is a unique race track,” added Wallace about the win at the half-mile tri-oval.
“You’re either really good at it or really bad at it. That was the first time I had raced there. It was cool to be able to get that confidence booster in our program. We ran the Pro deal and won five or six races there but getting that first Super win definitely helped.”
Wallace says the development program’s schedule is an open book, with a list of available dates for interested drivers to choose based on their personal goals and objectives.
“Our program is open to anything,” said Wallace. “I went through Speed51’s website and put together a master list of races, Pros and Supers, and marketed it that way. If you want to run this race, great. If not, we’ll leave the seat open.”
Ultimately, Wallace hopes to have a small group of drivers in the program, to focus fully on grooming a couple of future racers rather than collecting an ensemble of talent.
“We don’t want to get in the position where we have four or five guys we have to take care of all the time,” Wallace said. “We want to help one or two drivers develop, focus on them, and help them proceed on. It’s not a deal trying to make money, it’s trying to help shape drivers. There are some drivers that seem good but don’t get that break, and some guys that have that break but don’t have their head on completely straight.
“Our family’s been through it enough that I see it all, between my uncles and my dad, I’ve seen about all you can see,” Wallace added. “The sport, and its ups and downs, things like that.”
Story by: Zach Evans, Southeast Editor, Speed51 - Twitter: @ztevans
Photo Credit: Speed51.com