Batesville driver takes checkered flag, wins second Show-Me 100
Finesse is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when auto racing is concerned.
Flying rubber and peeling paint, maybe. But finesse?
However, according to Batesville's Wendell Wallace, when said auto racing concerns the Show-Me 100 at West Plains Motor Speedway, finesse is not only an important piece of strategy, it's also a necessity to survive 100 grueling laps of dirt track racing.
This strategy worked like a charm as Wallace claimed the 14th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Show-Me 100 May 27, earning $40,000 for his efforts in the best paying late model race of all time. The race paid $4,000 just to start.
Wallace, who last took the checkered flag in the event in 2000, took the lead on lap 33 and never looked back, finishing ahead of Greenbrier's Bill Frye, who came in second.
"It really takes a good car setup to be successful here (WPMS)," said Wallace. "That, and you have to use finesse. You've got to manage things for 100 laps here. I just didn't get in a hurry. Your tires really have to be right here, and I managed to save them pretty good."
Three-time defending champion Scott Bloomquist from Mooresville, Tenn., the Show-Me 100's only four-time winner, finished in third place.
Wallace posted the third-fastest lap in time trials and also won his heat the night before the main event at what he considers one of his favorite places to race.
"I just love this place. I probably prepare longer for this race than any other that we race in," he said. "It really means a great deal to win this thing. Heck, we've been so close the last few times, we probably should have won this thing three or four times now, but that's the way racing is."
Wallace, who finished in the runner-up slot to Bloomquist last year, sees the Show-Me 100 championship as a springboard to the rest of the season.
"It gives us a big boost. It really does. We're really pumped up," he said. "I consider this one of the five mega-events that we race in each year. If you can be fortunate enough to win one or two of those in a year, it helps take -- you never race under pressure -- but it can sure make the racing smoother."
And smooth, or rather slick, racing is what the Show-Me 100 is all about.
"This track (WPMS) seems like it gets slick at the start and then stays slick," Wallace said. "The track at Locust Grove starts off faster, and then begins to slow down in the middle of the race. Locust Grove is sure harder on tires than West Plains is."
Wallace started from the third spot and moved around the polesitter, Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., for second place on lap number six.
Next up was leader Justin Wells of Aurora. Wallace chased him for the next 27 laps before passing Wells on lap 33, grabbing the lead spot for good. Wells finished the race in the fourth spot.
Batesville's Jeff Taylor ended the night in seventh place.