Matt Wallace returns to Pro Late Model racing for the first time since 2016 this weekend, as he will compete in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Masters of the Pros 125 at Memphis International Raceway (TN).
The son of NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, Matt Wallace was once a front-running Pro Late Model contender. In recent years, Wallace has competed in Super Late Models, with his most recent event being the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN).
This will be Wallace’s first trip to the 3/4-mile D-shaped oval in the Volunteer State, and his first Pro Late Model race in several years.
“I’ve been there to watch, but never to race,” Wallace told Speed51. “I haven’t run a crate car in a couple of years. Going back crate racing, and hopefully it will turn out well.
“Our crate program was pretty strong when we went to the Super program,” added Wallace. “Hopefully we will pick back up where we left off. It’ll be a good time, and we’re really excited.”
Wallace last competed in a Pro Late Model in 2016, competing at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC). Wallace had several strong runs that season in the Pro Late Model, including a runner-up finish at Southern National.
“Our last race in a crate car was in 2016 at Kenly, down here at Southern National,” said Wallace. “In one of our last crate races, I think we ended up running second there. Like any team, you hit and miss, but for the most part our crate program didn’t get all the wins we hoped but always ran up front and got good finishes.”
Wallace knows that the large 3/4-mile surface at Memphis will generate high speeds for the CRA All-Stars this weekend. The new home of the Masters of the Pros event is the longest track on the JEGS/CRA schedule.
“It’s going to be a fast race track,” said Wallace. “Even with a crate car, not anything crazy, but still going to run faster than most people think you do. People in the Late Model world don’t realize, things happen quick when you’re running that much faster.
“It doesn’t seem like you’re running faster, but things happen in a hurry. Not just yourself, but other people around you.”
Wallace isn’t bashful about his hopes for the weekend. Knowing the strength of his Pro Late Model program before taking the jump to Super Late Models, he believes he can contend for a much-needed victory on Sunday.
“Pick up where we started, win another race,” said Wallace. “That would help us a bunch right now. We haven’t raced a lot this year due to funding, but we’re not slacking on effort. That would be a big feather in the hat.”
The Masters of the Pros 125 at Memphis International Raceway will be broadcast on Speed51 via pay-per-view. Click here to order your video ticket now and tune in for the marquee Pro Late Model event.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo