Darrell Wallace wins a Wild Race at Eldora
July 23, 2014
By Chris Knight
NASCAR Wire Service
In front of a packed house at Eldora Speedway, Darrell Wallace Jr. won Wednesday’s night second annual 1-800 CarCash Mudsummer Classic. Wallace, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, earned his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) win of the season.
Wallace led the final 97 laps of the 150-lap race and withstood a relentless effort by Kyle Larson, another NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate. However, Larson creamed the wall with two laps remaining, sealing Wallace’s third career victory in NCWTS competition in the No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“That’s so cool – on the dirt at Eldora,” Wallace said from Victory Lane. “Really? Eldora?
“The coolest things about it is I came into this hoping we’d finish in the top-five. I was worried about the Toyota streak, not to lie.”
The triumph solidified the 12th consecutive victory for manufacturer Toyota, dating back to Phoenix International Raceway last November.
The 20-year old took the lead from Ron Hornaday Jr. on Lap 49 and led the field to the first competition caution on Lap 60, completing the first of three segments. Under the yellow, Wallace brought his truck to the attention of the Jerry Baxter-led team where they changed tires and added fuel.
On the restart, Wallace checked out on the field and led the entire second segment, until the sixth caution flag of the night waved on Lap 112, ending segment two.
Wallace, along with a majority of the leaders, elected to stay out, setting the tone for the final 40-lap dash to the finish.
During the final stint, Wallace found himself being haunted by last year’s runner-up finisher Larson, with the lead exchanging in the waning laps. Despite what seemed like a never-ending attack by Larson, the Chip Ganassi Racing development driver’s countless meetings with the Eldora Speedway walls would finally end his night within sight of the white flag, when a broken brake line sent Larson hard into the Turn 1 wall.
With no pressure from behind, Wallace was able cruise to give Kyle Busch Motorsports its eighth triumph of the season in 10 races overall. Despite a hiccup two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway, Wallace’s slow start to the season has gained serious momentum with two wins and a second in three of the last four races.
“I think my crew chief showed up,” joked Wallace “It’s just trial and tribulations that we go through. This team never gives up. We talked about Iowa and moved on from it and I said we were going to bounce back. This is a hell of a way to bounce back.”
Ryan Blaney, who finished third, took over the points lead from Matt Crafton by four points.
“We struggled for forward drive a lot, we were getting killed off the corners,” Blaney said. “I’m happy (though) to come out of here with a top-three finish and the points lead.”
Larson, who led five laps during the final segment, settled for 26th.
“Thanks to Turner Scott Motorsports for building a strong truck to make it last that long,” Larson said. “Didn’t realize how stupid I was driving. Sucks, but Darrell (Wallace Jr.) did a really good job. He was fast all day today and he ran close to the wall the whole time and never really hit it.”
Wallace finished 5.4-seconds ahead of second place finisher Ron Hornaday Jr. Blaney was third with Ken Schrader and Ty Dillon rounding out the top-five. John Hunter Nemechek was sixth followed by Jeb Burton, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and the inaugural Eldora winner Austin Dillon.
Blaney assumed the points lead for the first time this season with his sixth top-five of the year. Crafton trails 369 to 365. Johnny Sauter is third (-10), Hornaday Jr. fourth (-19) and German Quiroga fifth (-26).
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a trip to Long Pond, Pennsylvania for the running of the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Saturday, August 2.