Nationwide Series driver Mike Wallace will carry a very important message on his JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet in Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Wallace and the No. 01 team are joining Ohio law enforcement agencies to promote the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on impaired driving. The enforcement blitz begins Friday and will last through Labor Day.
“Law enforcement partners across the state will be out in full force to ensure people are making the right decisions on our roads,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born. “Impaired driving is a serious matter, and the message is clear – drive sober or get pulled over.”
Wallace said he’s pleased to play a role in the effort to make Ohio roads safer.
“It’s a great campaign,” Wallace said. “We’re happy to be involved with activities like this that can be so important in making our highways safer. We take some chances in racing, but the public roadways are no place for that. We’ll be encouraging everybody to ‘Drive sober or get pulled over’ by emphasizing the campaign on our race car this weekend.”
According to provisional data, 494 people died in 453 OVI-related crashes on Ohio’s roads in 2012. Impaired drivers were involved in 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes.
“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own – we need your commitment to make our roads safer,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions – like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”
The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown is a program organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
Wallace and the No. 01 car will be participating in a bit of NASCAR history Saturday as the Nationwide Series races for the first time at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 2.70-mile track in north central Ohio.
How does a driver prepare for a speedway he’s seeing for the first time? Research – in the case of Wallace.
“The only way I know how to prepare is I got some aerial views of the track, and I’ll watch some videos. You have to understand when to go left and right and how to approach the turns.”
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 will be the second straight road-course race for the series after last week’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
“I think it’s exciting any time we go to somewhere new,” Wallace said. “Other than that, we’ll approach it like any other road race. We know if we stay on the track all day long we’ll have a good run.”
Because the series is making its inaugural visit to Mid-Ohio, the weekend schedule is filled with practice opportunities. Sessions are scheduled at 9 a.m. (ET) and 1:30 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 2:30 p.m.
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