Wallace is a native of Batesville, Arkansas-an area that has produced a fair share of top
It's been a magnificent career of 23 years and there are no signs of slowing down. For Wendell Wallace, 42, retirement from driving is not even a remote thought at this time
These days, he is always mentioned when the kings of the Dirt Late Model sport are listed. He's done especially well in the big-money classic events that dot the landscape for the top class of the dirt stock cars.
For example, he's won the Dirt Track World Championship (DTWC), the Topless 100, the Show-Me 100 (three times), the Magnolia State 100 (twice), the Bill Willard Memorial, the Hav-A-Tampa Shootout, and the list goes on. He's also come close to winning numerous others. Guess you get the idea that W.W. always has to be considered a threat to win whenever he's in the starting field.
Wallace has been known for his association with car builder Joe Garrison and his GRT car-building operation for much of his career, including this season. From 1997 through 2003, when the two were previously together, the team was on fire.
Garrison is excited with the return this season of Wallace and crew chief Todd Moser.
"Having them here is great for everybody concerned," Garrison says. "We will provide him with the cars he needs, and he will provide direct feedback on the performance of our cars."
The StartIt all began for Wallace when he was 13 and tried Go-Karts for about four years.
There have been plenty of reasons to smile over the years.
"I did pretty well and won my share of races," he recalls. "It was during that time that I knew racing was going to be a part of me. I had tried sports in school but I was just too short and fat."
In about 1986, Wallace, with the help of his uncle, Bill Jones, bought a turnkey Dirt Late Model and a trailer for $15,000.
"Boy, I sure wish that things were like that today," Wallace says. "That situation went on for a couple years before we ran out of money. The engine kept breaking, and with my job in an engine shop, I was able to keep getting it put back together."
All this took place in his hometown of Batesville, Arkansas, the same home of NASCAR's Mark Martin and Dirt Late Model star Billy Moyer.
"Someday, I hope that my name can be added to those Batesville guys," he says.
He earned the "Batesville Bullet" nickname in about 2000, and it has stuck.
Wallace raised some eyebrows in 1988 by winning the track championship for car owner Danny Abernathy at Memphis Motorsports Park. That was followed by a year competing with the NCRA group and car owner Ivy Harron. "That was pretty tough competition and those guys really taught me some lessons on the racetrack," recalls Wallace. "I did, though, get a couple wins."
Next came five years with legendary owner Mooney Starr, an association that brought about 40 victories. Included in those wins were the Magnolia State and Southern Shoals 100 races which provided a total of $20,000 in winnings. During that period, Wallace was driving Larry Shaw racecars.
Next came a six-year tenure with owner O.J. Monday, a period that brought wins in a number of the sport's biggest races. Wallace says that about four dozen wins came during that period, including wins in four big-money races that added $177,000 to his till. The wins included the Dixie Shootout ($36,000), the Topless 100 ($40,000), the Masters ($51,000) and the DTWC ($50,000).
But nothing lasts forever in the volatile dirt game. In 2004, Wallace found himself back doing it on his own. That makes his return deal with GRT even more important.
During the early-to-mid 2000s years, the success continued unabated, and there was a change in emphasis by racing with a series. He ran the brutal month-long UMP Summernationals event, finishing an impressive third in points in 2006.