Darrell Wallace Jr made history In what was a wild NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. By winning the Kroger 200 Wallace became only the second African American driver to ever win in one of NASCAR's national series. Wendell Scott did so way back in December of 1963. It is his first career Truck Series win in his 19th start.
He drove away from the pack in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota on a restart with six laps left and cruised to an emotional victory.
"Oh my god, this is…I don't know, I'm speechless right now," Wallace Jr said in victory lane on the front stretch of Matinsville Speedway. "God I couldn't hold it together coming off four and to the checkered and I still can't."
Wallace had one of the best trucks all day long and as others piled into wrecks and spins Wallace stayed out of the carnage to win.
There was a lot of another type of emotion late in the race as on lap 187 of 200 the second and third place trucks wrecked. Kevin Harvick, who was driving for NTS Motorsports, was second with Ty Dillon, driving for Richard Childress Racing, in third. Dillon got into the back of Harvick and got him sideways. Before Harvick could catch the truck Dillon got into Harvick again to spin him all the way around. Points leader Matt Crafton had nowhere to go while running fourth and got damage to his front end. Chase Elliott also had nowhere to go as he was sixth and nosed into Harvick's truck.
Harvick and Dillon would bang several times under the caution before coming to pit road where Harvick stopped in Dillon's box. There, crew members of Dillon's team got into the window of Harvick who had his window net down. Harvick would then pull behind the wall and out of the race.
"It's a shame you got to get taken out by some rich kid like that," Harvick said of Ty Dillon.
Ty Dillon is the grandson of owner Richard Childress, the team Kevin Harvick has driven for his whole Sprint Cup Series career to this point. Harvick is leaving the team at the end of the year to go to Stewart-Haas Racing as Austin Dillon, Ty's older brother, moves to Cup next year. It will be interesting to see how this affects Harvick on the Cup side over the final four races as he is fourth in points only 26 out of first.
Dillon meanwhile said it was a racing accident and then that he was disappointed in Harvick's actions after the crash.
The Kroger 200 started with Denny Hamlin on the pole in Kyle Busch's No. 51 Toyota. He didn't lead the first lap as Johnny Sauter was able to get the lead on the high side. The first of 10 cautions would come out on lap 2 when Ryan Sieg spun. He finished 25th.
The race restarted on lap 7 and Daniel Hemric slowed with a mechanical issue. He spent several laps behind the wall and finished 32nd in his Camping World Truck Series debut. On lap 9 Darrell Wallace Jr took the lead from Sauter. Then on lap 32 Hamlin moved to second past Sauter as the top three ran close together.
On lap 34 Timmy Hill hit the outside wall but no caution came out. He finished in 31st. On lap 41 Hamlin took his first lead of the race and Kevin Harvick was up to tenth after starting 21st. On lap 44 Sauter moved to second past Wallace Jr.
The second caution came out on lap 70 when Joey Coulter spun Ryan Blaney. Both would continue on but pit stops occurred for the first time. After the stops Hamlin held the lead but Ty Dillon jumped up to second from fourth. The race restarted on lap 78 and Timothy Peters had issues when he made contact into the back of Matt Crafton on the restart. His hood came up over his windshield and he needed to pit. Peters finished in 26th. Dillon meanwhile had a bad restart and dropped to eighth.
The third caution came out on lap 91 for a spin by Miguel Paludo. He finished in 21st. For the lap 97 restart the running order was Hamlin, Wallace Jr, Ross Chastain, Sauter, and Harvick. On lap 98 Ron Hornaday Jr squeezed Johnny Sauter high and then Sauter ran Hornaday up the track in the corner. Debris fell from the back end of Hornaday's truck and the fourth caution flew on lap 100 at the halfway mark for that.
On the lap 105 restart Wallace Jr took the lead from Hamlin on the inside and Hamlin dropped all the way to tenth in line. Ross Chastain was on the move and on lap 120 he took the lead from Wallace Jr.
The fifth caution would come out on lap 127 when Sauter spun James Buescher. Both would continue in the race. Under the caution Chastain stayed out and Ryan Blaney but everyone else pitted. For the lap 134 restart the running order was Chastain, Blaney, Harvick, Dillon, Hamlin and Wallace Jr. Dillon jumped around the outside and took the lead while Chastain and Blaney dropped quickly on old tires.
The sixth caution flew quickly on lap 136 when Ben Kennedy spun Ron Hornaday Jr when they were three wide with James Buescher all the way on the inside. Bryan Silas also had a lot of damage to his front in the aftermath. Hornaday had a lot of damage after backing into the wall. He finished 28th and Silas in 33rd.
The running order for the lap 142 restart was Dillon, Wallace Jr, Harvick, Hamlin, and Jeb Burton. On lap 143 Matt Crafton got into Denny Hamlin on the front stretch and Hamlin went around and backed into the inside wall to bring out the seventh caution.
The race restarted on lap 150 and Wallace Jr made a strong move on the outside of Dillon to grab the lead off Turn 4. German Quiroga was running in the top 10 when he made a pit stop on lap 153. With Wallace Jr leading the eighth caution flew on lap 169 when Brandon Jones spun Jeff Agnew. Both would continue in the race.
The next retstart was on lap 175 and Wallace Jr was able to keep the lead. The ninth caution flew on lap 179 when Jeff Agnew spun Brennan Newberry. Newberry finished in 24th.
That set up a restart on lap 184 with Wallace Jr leading Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Crafton, and Jeb Burton. Harvick was able to get past Dillon but Wallace Jr began to pull away. On lap 187 Ty Dillon pressed the issue and got into the back of Harvick sparking the melee between the two that also ruined that races of Crafton and Chase Elliott. In the aftermath Crafton finished 17th, Elliott 20th, Dillon 22nd, and Harvick 30th.
The race went back green on lap 194 and Wallace Jr stuck it to the field and pulled away from everyone to record the historic win.
Behind him the finishing order was scrambled by the late wrecks. Brendan Gaughan ended up second with Jeb Burton third. Ben Kennedy finished a career best fourth in his fourth career start for Turner Scott Motorsports. Ryan Blaney was fifth, Denny Hamlin sixth, German Quiroga seventh, Johnny Sauter eighth, Scott Riggs ninth, and James Buescher tenth. Max Gresham took 11th, Joey Coulter 12th, John Wes Townley 13th, Ross Chastain 14th, and Jeff Agnew 15th. John Hunter Nemechek stayed out of trouble all day to finish in 16th in his debut race. Points leader Matt Crafton was 17th, Dakoda Armstrong 18th, Brandon Jones 19th, and Chase Elliott 20th.
With three races left in the season Matt Crafton still has a big lead in the points. He is 51 points ahead of James Buescher. Ty Dillon is third but 61 points back. Jeb Burton is 68 back in fourth and Johnny Sauter is fifth. Ryan Blaney is sixth, Miguel Paludo seventh, Darrell Wallace Jr eighth, Brendan Gaughan ninth, and Timothy Peters tenth.
Next up for the Camping World Truck Series is the WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, November 1st.
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- Denny Hamlin on Pole for Camping World Truck Series Race at Martinsville Speedway
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- Darrell Wallace Jr Has Picked up Camping World and Good Sam as Sponsors
- Kyle Busch Wins Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Dover International Speedway
- Ty Dillon Wins UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway for Second Truck Win
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