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Darrell Wallace, Jr. Dominates on the Dirt at Eldora Speedway to Win Second Race of Season

RACE: 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic
TRACK: Eldora Speedway
DRIVER: Darrell Wallace, Jr.
TRUCK: No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra
START: 6th
LAPS: 150/150
LAPS LED: 2 Times for 97 Laps
POINTS POSITION: 6th (28 points out of 1st)

Post-Race Highlights:

  • Returning to the famed Eldora Speedway, Darrell Wallace, Jr. and the No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra team entered the 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic looking to improve on their seventh-place finish in the inaugural event last season. Following qualifying and a round of heat races, Wallace and his team earned the sixth stating position for the 150-lap, three segment event.
  • With the race underway, Wallace patiently began to make his way to the front of the field and was scored in the third position when the first caution of the race came out on lap 25 for teammate Erik Jones. Wallace quickly radioed the team that his Toyota Tundra was really good. The race restarted on lap 32 with Wallace third.
  • Slipping a couple of positions following the restart, a quick caution on lap 36 bunched the field back up and gave Wallace the opportunity to restart the race on lap 42 from the fourth position.
  • Picking off one position at a time, Wallace moved into second on lap 45 and began battling Kyle Larson for the lead before clearing the 32 truck on lap 48 to lead the race for the first time.
  • Leading the remaining laps of segment one, Wallace pitted under the lap 60 break for four tires, fuel and to check for damage sustained when he hit the outside wall passing Larson for the lead. With the field frozen during the break, Wallace led the field back to green on lap 62.
  • For the second segment, Wallace led the field for all 50 laps. The team opted to stay out during the second scheduled break on lap 110 and restarted the race on lap 112 from the first position.
  • With a fast truck and happy with the handling, Wallace continued to lead the field until Larson made his way to second and to the bumper of the No. 54 Toyota Tundra. Able to make a pass on lap 127, Larson and Wallace were exchanging the lead when the caution waved on lap 127 and Larson was scored as the race leader. The race restarted on lap 132 and Wallace was able to quickly regain the lead after Larson made contact with the outside wall.
  • Staying out front for the remainder of the race, Wallace was able to earn his second win of the 2014 season.
  • Following Wallace across the finish line were Ron Hornaday, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Ken Schrader and Ty Dillon.
  • Darrell Wallace, Jr.’s Post-Race Thoughts:

    “This is awesome. I am still trying to figure out how this happened. All day I was like ‘I don’t know what I am doing.’ This year was a little different for us. We went and tested a few weeks ago and this time we knew what to test for. We weren’t that sideways last year, so I was able to practice that during the test. We just got better throughout the day. I said from the start of the race our Toyota Tundra was really good and it showed. We were able to start sixth, get out to the lead fairly quick and control our own destiny. So proud to work with my guys, these guys never give up no matter what race we go to – road course, dirt, Martinsville, one of our best tracks, or Gateway, a track we’d never been to – and they always want to win. Excited to go to Pocono Raceway, but very cool to be here at Eldora Speedway and to get the golden shovel and iconic trophy with such a great fan base.”

Race Report: New Hampshire

Joe Gibbs Racing brought three extremely fast race cars to Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend, with each taking a turn at the front of the field during today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. All three spent the majority of the race inside the top five and when it was over Kyle Busch would lead the team with a second-place finish, while Matt Kenseth came home fourth and Denny Hamlin eighth.

Busch set a new track record during Friday’s qualifying session to place his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota on the pole for the start of today’s race. Busch was fast from the outset leading the opening 62 laps before giving way to his teammate Denny Hamlin. Busch would spend the majority of the day inside the top five and was running fifth when the race reached 200 laps. He would pit for four tires on lap 214 and lined up 15th for the restart a few laps later after many chose to take only two or fuel only. Busch would race his way into 11th by lap 245. The Interstate Batteries team would make the call to stay out under caution on lap 251 allowing him to restart third with 45 laps to go. He would drop a couple spots on the next run while attempting to save enough fuel to ensure he would make it to the end. He would run sixth with 20 to go and continued to hold that spot when a caution came out with four to go setting up a green-white-checker finish. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call to remain on the track and attempt to stretch their fuel run into overtime. He would take the green flag with two to go from the fourth position and managed an impressive second-place finish. It was Busch’s third consecutive second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 15th position but wasted no time in moving into the top ten to race eighth by lap 25. He would move into the top five for the first time on lap 61 and continued his climb toward the lead. Kenseth, who won in New Hampshire last September, took the top spot on lap 127. He would hold the lead for 12 laps before giving way to the 2 car. The No. 20 Dollar General team would elect to take four tires during a round of stops under caution shortly after the midpoint of the race and he would restart 11th after many others on the lead lap made the decision for just two tires. Kenseth would work his way back inside the top 10 and into sixth over the course of the next run and continued to hold that spot at the 200 lap mark. He would pit on lap 214 for four tires while many others elected just two tires or no tires and he would line up 17th for a restart on lap 219. He would race his way back into the top 10 by lap 245. He would take fuel only on his next stop with 51 laps remaining and lined up eighth for the restart when several others elected not to pit. He would run seventh with 20 to go and held that position when a caution came out with four laps remaining to set up a green-white-checker finish. He restarted fifth with two to go and took the checkered flag in fourth.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota in the third position and immediately moved into second. He would settle into that position for the first 62 laps before finally tracking down his teammate Kyle Busch and claiming the lead. Hamlin would lead twice for a total of 20 laps through the first round of green flag pit stops. He would continue to run inside the top five much of the afternoon and was in fourth when the race reached the 200 lap mark. The FedEx Freight Camry would pit under caution on lap 214 for four tires and lined up 13th for a lap 219 restart after many others elected to take only two tires or fuel only. Hamlin would climb his way back into the top 10 in less than 10 laps and was running seventh on lap 245. He would remain out on the track during the next caution which allowed him to restart second with 45 to go. He would drop to third, but eventually earned the second spot back with 19 laps to go despite having to save enough fuel to make it to the finish. A caution with four to go would hurt the FedEx team’s fuel strategy and crew chief Darian Grubb called the 11 car down pit road for tires and fuel. He would restart 20th but managed an impressive drive back into the top ten and earned an eighth-place finish.

Brad Keselowski won the race, followed by Busch, Kyle Larson, Kenseth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 35 laps and 18 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was extended four laps for a green-white-checker finish.

Race Report: Daytona

Rain managed to delay the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway from its scheduled Saturday night start to this morning. The wet weather also shortened the scheduled length of the race today, but it did nothing to dampen the overall excitement with two large accidents taking its toll on many of the cars in the field.

Joe Gibbs Racing was certainly not immune from the accidents with Matt Kenseth involved in the day’s first wreck on lap 21 and Kyle Busch being knocked from the race on lap 98. They would finish 20th and 28th respectively. Meanwhile Denny Hamlin also picked up damage from the lap 98 accident but managed to remain on the track and on the lead lap to earn a sixth-place finish.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota in the 37th position and slowly climbed his way toward the front of the field. He was into the top 15 when the day’s first accident struck on lap 21 and somehow he was able to steer the No. 11 Camry through a field of damaged cars. Hamlin was inside the top five at the halfway mark and hoping to survive and be in a position to win at the end. The FedEx Toyota would take a ride through the infield during a lap 98 accident, but once again Hamlin managed to avoid any major damage and lined up sixth for the restart. He would remain sixth when the rain began to fall again and the race was red flagged once again on lap 112. NASCAR would eventually call the race and Hamlin would officially be scored at the finish in sixth.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota in sixth and took the lead early on lap five and held the top spot for the next 12 laps. He remained toward the front of the field when the day’s first big accident struck on lap 21. Kenseth was forced to bring the No. 20 Camry down pit road for repairs and although he managed to remain on the lead lap his temperatures ran high and he was forced to bring it down pit road for more extensive repairs under the next caution. Kenseth would eventually fall a lap off the pace. He would continue to run a lap down hoping to pick up the lucky dog position when another big wreck on lap 98 would result in further damage to the Home Depot/Husky Toyota. The team was able to keep the car on the track however and Kenseth restarted 20th. Rain would quickly follow and the race was red flagged on lap 112 with Kenseth in 20th, which is where he would officially be scored when NASCAR called the race due to continuous storms.

Busch started his No. 18 Interstate All Battery Center Toyota in the 39th position and was content through the early laps to race near the back of the field. He would slide into the top ten following a caution for the day’s first accident on lap 21. Kyle would remain near the front of the field but was caught in the day’s big one on lap 98 when the 5 car was hit from behind and spun down in front of the 18. Kyle nearly managed to avoid major damage when he steered the Interstate All Battery Center Camry down into the infield grass, but the heavy rains over the previous 24 hours left the No. 18 to sink down in the mud and ultimately spin back up the track where it picked up additional contact and ended up on its roof. Busch would be fine but his day was over. He would be scored in 28th.

Aric Almirola won the rain shortened race after just 112 of the 160 scheduled laps. He was followed by Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch, Casey Mears, and Austin Dillon to round out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 29 laps and 21 lead changes among 14 different drivers.

Race Report: Kentucky

Joe Gibbs Racing secured two top-five finishes tonight with Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth finishing second and fourth respectively in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Denny Hamlin was running third and hopeful of joining his teammates in the top five but a blown right front tire early in the race sent him hard into the wall and left him back in 42nd.

Busch qualified his No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in the 18th position and was quick through the opening green flag run gaining eight positions and moving into the top ten over the first 28 laps before the day’s first caution came out. He would continue his climb to the front on the next run and was running sixth by lap 60 and entered the top five for the first time just a few laps later. The M&Ms team would do a great job on pit road under caution on lap 78 allowing Busch to restart third on lap 81. He would take over the second position on lap 114. Busch ran third at the halfway point and lined up in the same spot for a restart on lap 161. He would fight loose handling conditions on the next run but still managed to hold a spot in the top five and was running fourth at lap 200. He would come down pit road on lap 214 when a caution came out while he was on pit road. Great work by the M&Ms pit crew got Busch off pit road before the leaders reached the line which allowed him to restart as the leader on lap 220. He would continue to hold the lead for 31 laps before giving way to the 2 car. He would go on to finish second.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in 14th and was able to hold that position through the opening run before the night’s first caution on lap 29. He would climb into the top ten following the opening round of pit stops and was running 10th on lap 50 and eighth on lap 75. He would restart seventh on lap 84. He was running sixth on lap 120 when he came on the radio to report a right front tire going down. Kenseth was able to keep the car on the track and make it down pit road to change his right side tires. The unscheduled stop would put the 20 car a lap behind and when a caution came out just a few laps later Kenseth would take the wave around to get back on the lead lap. He would have to restart at the back of the lead lap cars in 26th on lap 132. He would battle tight conditions on the ensuing run and was running 25th when the next caution came out on lap 154. Kenseth would restart 24th on lap 161 and gained two spots to run 22nd with 100 to go. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would make the call to remain out on the track allowing him to restart ninth on lap 182 and he was running eighth at lap 200. A caution on lap 214 would bring the Dollar General Camry back down pit road and the pit crew delivered gaining several spots and allowing him to restart fifth on lap 220. He would continue to run in the fifth position and passed the 4 car with six laps to go to earn an impressive fourth-place run.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota in the fourth position and moved into third over the course of the opening laps, but a blown right front tire sent him hard into the outside wall on lap 29 ending his night early. It was a disappointing finish for Hamlin and the No. 11 team who had a proven fast car all weekend and was just a couple laps away from would have been a competition caution following an afternoon rain storm that washed all the rubber from the track. The car would be beyond repair and Hamlin was scored in 42nd.

Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kenseth, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 34 laps and 12 lead changes among three different drivers.