Originally created 12/16/00

Smith hires Wallace for Winston Cup ride



MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- NASCAR truck series ace Mike Wallace is back for another shot at Winston Cup racing, agreeing to drive next year for Jim Smith.

Although he'll be moving up from the truck series, Wallace will be in familiar surroundings with Ultra Motorsports. Its owner, Smith, also fielded Ford trucks for Wallace for the last two years.

"The only reason you compete at anything is to win," the 41-year-old Wallace said Friday. "That's what we're planning on doing with this race team. I know what Jim Smith can put together."

Wallace finished fourth in the truck series standings this year with two wins -- including the inaugural truck race at Daytona International Speedway -- 13 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s. In three seasons in the truck series, Wallace had four wins, 29 top-fives and 48 top-10s in 92 races.

His Winston Cup experience includes 2« seasons in Junie Donlavey's Ford. Wallace's fifth-place finish in 1994 was the most recent top-five for a Donlavey driver.

"Everyone has seen what Mike Wallace is capable of doing behind the wheel, and we are really excited with what we think he can with our race car," Smith said. "Mike Wallace has a lot of driving talent, and he's the kind of guy we need right now."

Wallace is the younger brother of 1989 Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace and the older brother of series competitor Kenny Wallace.

No additional terms of the agreement were revealed.