It has not been the year that Mike Wallace planned for. Starting out the year for Premium Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he was left without a ride following the third race of the season.
However, JGL Racing hired him to race at Daytona, and he was scheduled to run the No. 26 Toyota next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race. But things have changed rapidly for the four-time XFINITY Series winner.
Undergoing triple bypass heart surgery, Wallace will not be able to run the race. Instead, his brother, FOX Sports analyst Kenny Wallace, will pilot the No. 26 car for the 300-mile event.
“Well this isn’t what the plan was,” Wallace said. “I felt a little chest pain last week so I went to the doctor and the next thing I know I am going in for surgery. My dad had heart surgery about 35 years ago so I thought I was being proactive and taking all of the necessary precautions. This just goes to show that you never know and there are a lot of people walking around out there in the same situation.
“No matter how healthy we think we are – no one can be careful enough when it comes to our health so everyone needs to go get checked out. My plan was to go to Talladega next week and climb behind the wheel of a car strong enough to win. If all goes as planned I will be going there to watch my brother do just that and root him and the JGL Racing team on. I am focused on getting back to full strength and returning to the driver’s seat in the near future.”
The youngest of the Wallace brothers, Kenny has five top 10s in 15 starts at Talladega. He is also scheduled to run a handful of events for RAB Racing with U.S. Cellular as the sponsor.
It is unknown when Mike will be allowed to return to the seat of a racecar, but he hopes to travel to the race. Prior to the surgery, Wallace was searching for funding on his Facebook account less than three weeks ago.