Mike Wallace returned for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in two years and promptly found himself in victory lane, thanks to a sustained push from his Kevin Harvick, Inc. team mate for the day Ron Hornaday Jr.
Wallace had agreed to return to Truck racing for the weekend as a stand-in for Elliott Sadler, whose wife is due to give birth to the couple's second child this weekend. Wallace couldn't believe his luck at the outcome after he won his first Truck race since March 2000 and his first in any national NASCAR competition since winning in Nationwide at Daytona in 2004.
"I'm very emotional right now, because a lot of people doubt you," said Wallace in victory lane. "An opportunity like this just proves, 'Hey, I can get it done. Give me something good to drive, and I can prove I can do it.'"
It was Wallace's fifth Truck career victory in 115 starts, making him the 11th different driver to win a race so far this year. His team for the weekend, KHI, scored its ninth of the season - more than any other team in the series - and is their first win at the superspeedway.
Hornaday's second place enabled him to close to within 14pts of Truck series leader Austin Dillon, who was demoted to 18th place as a penalty for not observing safety car pace under the last of six cautions during the day but who managed to climb back to seventh place by the chequered flag.
James Buescher climbs to second place in the championship, 3pts off Dillon, after finishing third at Talladega; but Johnny Sauter drops a place after being involved in an early incident on lap 35. Sauter and his ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton were trying to stay out of trouble near the back of the field when Donnie Neuenberger's car blew a tyre; Crafton tried to check up but Sauter - running behind him and pushing as part of a two-truck draft - was unsighted and ended up wrecking both of them. Crafton was more seriously damaged and was out of the race, while Sauter's #13 was patched together and sent out to finish in 15th position.
Sauter had been involved in some earlier drama on Friday during practice after being hit in the left eye by a piece of debris during practice on Friday. "The race track's dirty," Sauter said. "We were one of the first trucks out there. I had my helmet blower on and it must have blown a piece of sand or dirt in my eye.
"It was just a fluke deal ... My eyes are very sensitive to that kind of stuff. So I just didn't want to take any chances, but it's good now," he added, insisting that the doctor had found nothing in the eye by the time he was examined.
Buescher had earlier claimed pole position for the "Coca-Cola 250 powered by fred's" Saturday afternoon race with a time of 53.896s on the 2.66 mile superspeedway a comfortable quarter of a second ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr. who started alongside him on the front row but who got involved in a multiple car wreck in turn 3 on lap 14 that also caught up Jeffrey Earnhardt, Donnie Neuenberger, Josh Richards, Cole Whitt and Patrick Sheltra.
Full race results
, qualifying and practice times available.