After two months away, Matt Wallace is returning to ARCA for his second start in the stock car series and first at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Wallace, the son of Mike Wallace, will start in the July 24 race at LOR in Indianapolis after making his series debut at Toledo on May 17, where he finished 10th.
“I’m definitely learning,” Wallace said. “The way these ARCA cars handle is so much different than the straight-rail, late model cars I’m used to. When you’re driving a car that’s a thousand pounds heavier, it almost feels like you’re driving a truck with a trailer behind you when you get in the corners.
“I learned that you really have to manage your brakes. I’m got ’em too hot at Toledo and I found myself having to pump the brakes down the straightaways toward the end of the race. I thought we raced respectable. We’ll improve on it from here.”
Wallace, 19, will once again compete for Bill Kimmel in the race at the 0.686-mile short track, which he has never visited before. He says he has been using the iRacing video game to become familiar with the facility, which hosted Xfinity Series races until 2011.
He’s also relying heavily on the experience of his father, who won six times in ARCA, and ARCA legend Frank Kimmel, who has 80 wins in 26 years.
“I think anytime you come into a new series, you have to give the veterans the respect they deserve, on and off the track,” Wallace said. “You gotta give ’em some room while you learn to hold your own. It’s a careful balance.
“I need to learn from the veterans on the ARCA tour. Frank Kimmel is the Dale Earnhardt of the ARCA series, and he has a lot to teach all of us. Ultimately, you race someone the way they race you, which depends on how they race you.
“I need the experience in these big heavy ARCA cars to get to that next level. The ARCA cars have a lot more role through the corners. I’d like to run as much as I can with ARCA.”
Matt Wallace joins his father, his uncles Rusty and Kenny Wallace and cousin Stephen Wallace as family members who have pursued racing careers. Yet, Matt Wallace says there’s no pressure to live up to the family name’s legacy in the sport, which includes Rusty Wallace’s 1989 Sprint Cup championship.
“As far as that goes, my family never pressured me to continue the family tradition. This is something that I want to do, but they always left it completely up to me,” he said.
“But I don’t hang the Wallace name over my head. I’m grateful for it…I’m proud of my last name and what it’s meant to racing. Maybe one day it can help me in the door, but I don’t expect it to pay my future.”
Accepting this, Matt Wallace has a back-up plan.
He’s a sophomore at a community college not far from his race shop, working toward a business administration degree with the plans to transfer to UNC-Charlotte.