NASCAR »

Wallace Jr. revels in dirt track truck triumph

Unlike others racing at Eldora Speedway, Darrell Wallace Jr. doesn't have a lot of dirt track racing experience. That didn't stop him dominating on Wednesday night.
CLICK: Full race results and Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

Darrell Wallace Jr. emerged victorious on Wednesday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Raceway, the only national-level NASCAR event held on a dirt track.

"Really? Eldora?" said a slightly shell-shocked Wallace in victory lane. "That's so cool. On the dirt at Eldora!"

It's certainly a very special victory for any driver, thanks to the unique one-of-a-kind nature of the event which made its d├ębut on the Truck Series schedule in 2013. Usually you'd expect the drivers who learned their trade on the dirt like Kyle Larson to blitz the field, but on Wednesday night under the floodlights it was the Kyle Busch Motorsports #54 that ended up emphatically schooling the field for most of the race.

Wallace's KBM team mate Erik Jones had earlier been credited with the official pole position (his first in ten Truck starts) after topping the single lap speed trials. However that did not decide the actual starting order but instead set the line-ups for the five heat races that followed, with four drivers from each ten-lap heat going through to the main race along with five more from a 'last chance' 15-lap race-off. Jones secured his race pole by winning the first heat over Wallace (who started sixth), while Jeb Burton claimed the remaining front row position by winning the second; Ron Hornaday Jr., Ryan Blaney and Johnny Sauter won the remaining straightforward heats to line up in the top five while John Wes Townley took victory in the lively last-chance race-off which saw numerous cautions for spins.

Jones led for the first 24 laps, but a blown right-rear tyre spun him out and triggered the first caution of the night. Jones would spin out again on lap 34 and lose another tyre on lap 87, all of which contributed to his dropping down to 29th place, six laps off the lead, by the end of the 150 laps which were split into three segments by scheduled competition cautions on lap 60 and lap 110.

After Jones hit problems the lead was briefly taken first by Burton and then by Hornaday, but the whole nature of the race was changed when Wallace passed Hornaday to go in front for the first time on lap 49. After that, Wallace would lead all but five laps of the remainder of the race - but he would be under intense pressure all the way from veteran dirt track racer Larson who never let up despite bouncing off the wall multiple times.

"Kyle had one of those gladiator runs. He didn't leave anything on the table. If he didn't win it, he was going to wear it," said race organiser Tony Stewart, who has owned and run Eldora since 2004.

"I lost count probably after the first five [hits] and that was in the first five laps," said Larson. "It's funny to watch me do that. But it's kind of stupid, too."

Larson finally managed to get in front on lap 128 just before a caution came out for the #80 Frank Ingram Racing Ford driven by Jody Knowles stopping on the track. At the restart, Wallace got the better start and jumped away to safety again, leaving Larson kicking himself for losing the opportunity.

"It sucks, but Darrell had to get me up in the seat to try to get back by, and he had a really good restart," he said.

Not that Larson gave up, and he continued pounding the wall in his efforts to get back into the lead, with Wallace noting: "I think I could actually hear him hit it every lap. He wanted to win and was going to do everything he could. But I was set up just a little better to keep him back there and make him fight for it."

"I watched Kyle every time he hit (the wall), and the thing is it doesn't scare him," said Stewart. "It shows what kind of driver he is, the kind of mental toughness he has. You aren't going to rattle that kid."

While Larson himself was up to the beating, the #32 Turner Scott Motorsports truck ultimately wasn't able to go the distance and with two laps to go a broken brake line led to a final hard hit that put him into the wall in turn 1 and out of the running for the win. Wallace was able to cross the line 5.489s ahead of Hornaday, who himself was nearly three seconds clear of Blaney and Ken Schrader.

Wallace's win is KBM's eight visit to victory lane in the ten races of the 2014, and extends a 12-race winning streak in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for engine manufacturers Toyota - a mantle that Wallace had found weighed heavily on him during the race.

"I was worried about the Toyota streak, not to lie," he admitted. "The coolest things about it is I came into this hoping we'd finish in the top-five.

"I wish my mom was here," Wallace added. "But this is a good luck streak. She wasn't at Martinsville and she wasn't at Gateway [where he also won]. She ain't coming no more!" he laughed.

"This was a night everyone played a hand in writing the story," summed up Stewart. "But the two guys toe-to-toe at the end put on great performances to finish the chapter. I don't know how you write a better ending."

The win is Wallace's second win of the year and his third victory in 32 series starts. It puts him up two spots to sixth place in the championship standings, which are now led by Ryan Blaney by four points over Matt Crafton who finished Wednesday night's race in ninth place.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart presents Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, with the trophy after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson drives the #42 Target Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 NATIONWIDE Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford (left) and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, look on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 13, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona. Newman is twelfth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.