To some, “go big or go home” is a silly platitude you say before overeating or performing a dangerous stunt, but for others, it’s a philosophy— one off of which you base a dream.
Matt Wallace will be “going big” nearly 800 miles from his home when he joins a handful of other Americans to compete in the Pro Late Model portion of the inaugural Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway (CAN) in several weeks.
“We’ve been kind of back and forth on it, just because of the fact that it’s so far away,” Wallace told Speed51.com. “It takes so much to get there, going through the border and everything. It’s definitely not the easy choice, but we’ve heard it’s a very nice facility and it’s a big race, so we figured it would be a good choice to try and make it.”
Making the long haul to Canada is a risky expenditure for a budget-conscious team based out of North Carolina, but the gamble could pay off for Wallace in more ways than one.
Along with the sponsor-magnetizing prestige that comes from conquering marquee events, the winner of the 200-lap feature will become CA $50,000 richer (US $38,108.45).
“We just need to be racing more and that’s our problem right now,” Wallace said. “We don’t get to race a whole lot due to financial instability, no sponsorship and things like that. We’re trying to secure sponsorships, and that’s why we don’t want to run just small races, we want to run races that’ll get your name out there.”
Winning will be easier dreamed than done, however. On top of never having been to, let alone raced, the newly remodeled track, Wallace will be competing primarily with locals who have home-field advantage.
“It’s going to be a totally different atmosphere,” Wallace said. “We’ll have to run different packages, as far as shocks and things like that, that we’ve never run before. It’s a totally different ballgame, just as it would be if they came down here. It’s nothing that we’re worried about, just going to be a challenge to get accustomed to all the different aspects.”
But these sorts of challenges aren’t anything new for Wallace, who swapped motors last year to start the second leg of his one-bodied Late Model program. The Super Late Model venture has taken all of the 2018 season to gain a foothold, but one win in Pro All Star Series (PASS) South was enough to do the trick.
Thanks to his touring-series win, just a week following his run at Jukasa, Wallace will have yet another chance to make a name for himself. Wallace has received and accepted his invite to the Speed51 Super Select at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN), another inaugural event that will present similar obstacles for the 22-year-old.
“It’s going to be a pretty cool event and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Wallace said. “I was actually looking at the entry list last night. It’s full of good drivers, it’s going to be a very stout field. I’ve only been there once, in an ARCA car, never in a Late Model, so it’s going to be a totally different ballgame, just like Jukasa. It’ll be fun for sure.”
For now, though, Wallace is wrapping his head around what one big victory could do for his future in racing.
“It would be absolutely huge,” Wallace said. “It’ll be cool just to go up there and run good on someone else’s territory, but to win, that far away from home, would be even more special. We’ve been struggling a little bit this year, so that would give us the big boost we need. I’m looking forward to it.”
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com