Darrell Wallace Jr. Returns To His Winning Ways In Michigan; Earns First Truck Series Win For MDM Motorsportsby Hunter Thomas August 13, 2017
BROOKLYN, Mich. – The last time that Darrell Wallace Jr. competed in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race back in 2014, he won. On Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, Wallace Jr. returned to the series, and he picked up right where he left off by winning the LTi Printing 200.
Wallace Jr. only led once throughout the afternoon as he was out in front of the field for the final 11 laps. The win marks the first series victory for MDM Motorsports. The small team based in North Carolina has found a great deal of success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with driver Harrison Burton, but Saturday’s win was the first on the NASCAR national series level.
“God, it has been so long since I’ve been in Victory Lane,” Wallace Jr. said. “I try to hold a positive mindset over it, and everybody in my family knows that it eats at me every day. Emotional Victory Lane for sure. First time back in three years. It’s so cool.”
Wallace Jr. made the winning pass in Turn 3, when he dove underneath Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric. It was a bold move and a tight squeeze, but the driver of the No. 99 Maestro’s Classic Chevrolet pulled it off as he scored his sixth series victory.
“When I seen the 4 (Christopher Bell) pass the 19 (Austin Cindric), I’m like, the 19 is going to try and cross him over here, and he did exactly that, but two laps before that, Freddie (Kraft) my spotter, was like, ride here bud,” Wallace Jr. said about the winning pass. “Try to save all you can here in third because once they start racing, that’s going to be your shot. And like we talked about earlier, it came way too early. I did not want to make that move, but I also didn’t want to be a sitting duck and let that opportunity go to waste. I closed my eyes and turned left, and I heard clear, opened them back up, and we were the leader. That was a big move for us.”
Finishing second on Saturday was Christopher Bell in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 SiriusXM/JBL Toyota Tundra. The effort is Bell’s 12th top-10 finish of the season. He currently leads the standings by 37 points over Johnny Sauter.
“I don’t know, I hope the fans enjoyed that one because it was a ton of fun,” Bell said. “Our SiriusXM JBL Tundra was handling really good, we just didn’t seem to have the raw speed to get up there and get by them. That was a lot of fun. I wish I would have been able to work that inside pass like I did the time before. I didn’t quite get there. That’s awesome for Bubba (Darrell Wallace Jr.), to see him come back and win like that – that was a really fun race.”
Kyle Busch led a race high of 47 laps, but he had to settle for a third-place finish in the LTi Printing 200. Busch has now captured three top-three finishes in six races so far, this season.
Rounding out the top-five was Ryan Truex and Austin Cindric. Matt Crafton finished sixth, followed by Noah Gragson, Grant Enfinger, Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley.
During the LTi Printing 200, there were five caution; however, two were to conclude Stages 1 and 2 and only two cautions were for multi-truck accidents.
On lap 6, the caution came out a wreck involving John Hunter Nemecheck and Chase Briscoe. While racing hard in Turn 2, Nemechek lost control and slid up into the side of Briscoe’s truck. Briscoe continued, but Nemechek backed his truck hard into the outside wall, ending his day.
The final caution of the afternoon came out on lap 66 after a crash on a restart that began Stage 3. Drivers were jockeying for position when Cody Coughlin was sent into the frontstretch grass and hard into the inside wall at the end of pit road. Coughlin’s truck had such a hard impact that all four tires left the ground as he bounced back across the track.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 16 for the UNOH 200. Live coverage will broadcast at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images