On Tuesday afternoon, a familiar hauler pulled into the New Smyrna Speedway (FL) pit gate. Emerging were Steve Wallace and his No. 66 Super Late Model team, arriving a few days later than recent years.
“For me, it was too much racing, and we’ve already won a championship and won races down here in the past,” Wallace, who has participated in the full nine nights in the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing each of the last four years, told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I just wanted to take a little bit of time to build a new car and we’ve kind of changed a few things this year. I just wanted to be as well-prepared as possible.”
Among those changes for the 2014 champion in the Super Late Model division is an increased relationship with Fury Race Cars as well as some significant structural additions and adjustments that involves a former NASCAR All Pro/Southeast Series champion.
“We’ve got two of them now,” Wallace indicated. “Jeff Fultz is my crew chief this year and we’re kind of like a third Fury house car. We’ve kind of changed up some stuff. I do all the maintenance and preparation on the car, prepare the car, fix the car. Get everything ready and before we go to the race track it goes to Fury and they set it up and what not, and they go to the race track with me.”
After running into some struggles during starts in 2016, Wallace appears to have a new outlook for 2017. They intended to practice the car on Wednesday in preparation to compete in the final two Super Late Model features that conclude Speedweeks, but will not be able to test the car at New Smyrna because of the rainout.
“We came out here to win both races,” Wallace said. “We’re going to race hard and smart on Thursday and race hard and smart on Saturday night. Worked really hard this off-season and really feel like this is one of the better cars in the country right now. I’m excited to drive it.
“We went and shook it down two weeks ago at Motor Mile and we had a real successful test there. I really like the way it drove and all that stuff and haven’t really changed that much on it since then. Second time we’ll be in it is tomorrow.”
As for the remainder of the season, the 2004 Snowball Derby winner has some lofty plans. JET Tools returns for another season as primary sponsor to support him in accomplishing their goals.
“Bob Romano, the CEO of the company, is coming out for Saturday night’s race so we’re hoping to put a good show on for those guys and the fans,” Wallace mentioned. “I’ve got 10 races with JET Machinery. We’re going to run all 10 big ones: Winchester 400, Nashville, a couple CARS races, Bristol, the Rowdy 251. All the bigger-style shows so that’s kind of what we’re going to focus on this year.
“In years past we played around the Southeast. I kind of want to get out and race everybody this year. I feel like we’ve got the cars and equipment to be capable of winning a lot of races. We’ll see how it goes.”
If there’s a major Super Late Model show in 2017, there’s a good chance Steve Wallace will be one of the drivers to watch.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com