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Wallace to make first start of 2012 at Richmond

April 23, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Steve Wallace will return to the track for the first time this season -- driving a Ford for the first time in his Nationwide Series career -- on Friday night in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

Wallace was sidelined when his family-run team shuttered its doors at the end of the 2011 season. However, Wallace will be driving a car previously campaigned by Trevor Bayne and in collaboration with JTG Daugherty Racing, using that team's Sprint Cup pit crew.

"Right now, our goal is to run 10 or so races this year and look at going racing again full-time in 2013," Wallace said. "Just like everyone else, though, that's just dependent on sponsorship. A good run this weekend though, certainly wouldn't hurt in that department."

Wallace shook down the car during a test session last week at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Blake Bainbridge will handle crew chief duties, with assistance from Wallace's 2011 car chief, Ricky Cade.

In 11 previous visits to Richmond, Wallace has two top-10 finishes, including a fifth in 2008.

"We've run a lot better at Richmond than our record shows," Wallace said. "We've had a couple flat tires and mechanical problems that have taken us out of possible top-five or top-10 runs there.

"Just like any short track, it takes a really good handling car to be fast at Richmond. You've got to be able to turn in the center of the corner and still have a lot of forward bite up off. It's a little bit bigger than your normal short track too, so good horsepower and torque will definitely help a lot."

Wallace finished in the top 10 in the series standings each of the past three seasons, winding up 10th in 2011. He has 34 top-10s in 191 career Nationwide starts.

Wallace's Ford debut completes his "grand slam" of active manufacturers. He made his Nationwide debut with Dodge near the end of the 2005 season. Rusty Wallace Racing then switched to Chevrolets in 2008 and Toyotas in 2010.