Sunday, October 1, 2023

Analysis: Mike Wallace Potentially Coming Back to Cup Series?

LEBANON, TN – APRIL 23: Mike Wallace, driver of the #01 Colormatch Coting Solutions Chevrolet, jokes with fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Nashville 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on April 23, 2011 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Toby Christie     

UPDATE January 17, 2019: NBC Sports has confirmed that Wallace is in talks with Rick Ware Racing about driving their No. 52 car. The driver has enough sponsorship in place for Atlanta, California and Las Vegas so far.

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Mike Wallace had an interesting post on his Facebook account on Wednesday.

With the NASCAR Monster Cup series 2019 season starting with the Daytona 500 that is only about 30 days away. I have been offered a opportunity to be back behind the wheel as a winning driver in a car with a charter (Locked in every race) we need a few great marketing/ Sponsorship partners to compete in 2019

Your invited To join our team for a great ride in 2019!

Mike Wallace.

The post hints that Wallace is closing in on returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after stepping away from NASCAR in 2015 because of triple bypass surgery on his heart.

But, where would he be driving? There aren’t many options left at the Cup Series level, that are fully chartered. By my count, only three to four teams remain driver-less with a charter.

  • Spire Motorsports – The marketing agency that purchased the charter from the now defunct Furniture Row Racing has yet to announce a driver, or anything really other than that they will be running a Chevrolet race team. Could this be the landing spot for Wallace?
  • Rick Ware Racing – The team for sure has a charter in place for their No. 51 team, but Cody Ware has also been saying that they have acquired a second charter for their No. 52 team although details have not emerged as to who they would have gotten a second charter from. But could this be where Wallace finds himself?
  • TriStar Motorsports – This team fielded cars for Corey LaJoie in 2017, but lost the young driver this offseason as he took his Schluter-Systems sponsorship with him to GoFas Racing. TriStar has had a partner in Rinnai Water Heaters for the last couple of years, if they return could Wallace fill the rest of the sponsorship slate?

So, what is the most feasible option for Wallace?

Well, based on his wording, Wallace will be driving for a team that is a, “great ride”. Now we must take the context of the Facebook post at face value, but under that criteria Spire Motorsports would be the outfit that should have the most potential to win a race.

Although, let’s not mistake, none of the listed teams should be in position to win a race in 2019.

I just find it hard to believe that Spire Motorsports would dip their toe into the sport with a 59-year-old driver. Especially for a marketing team that represents so many youthful drivers.

However, Wallace last drove for Jay Robinson in the Cup Series, and rumors are that Robinson will have a hand in Spire’s race operation. If that is the case, Wallace could be in the No. 77 this season.

However, I still find it more plausible that Wallace will be in one of the two Rick Ware cars or the TriStar No. 72.

Just by the law of numbers, there is a better chance that the team Wallace is talking to is RWR as they have two cars to fill the seats of.

However, my gut says that TriStar is the team that is talking to Wallace.

TriStar has been scrambling to find a way to compete in 2019, and if Wallace brings at least a decent sponsorship package to the table he would have a chance to compete with a team that is capable of running 20th to 25th on good days.

This is an absolute guess, and total speculation, and if Wallace doesn’t find sponsorship its a moot point. But I believe his best shot of returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is with the No. 72 team.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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