By Toby Christie, NASCAR Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Bubba Wallace came into Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway riding a four-race streak of finishing his No. 6 Ford Mustang in the sixth position. Early in the running of Saturday’s race he looked like a safe bet to have another good run, but at lap 66 it looked like the streak had been busted.
Contact by Tyler Reddick, who was running the high lane at the treacherous reconfigured 1.5-mile speedway, sent Wallace spinning and the spin collected five cars. Wallace shredded chunks of his front splitter, and dented and caved in pieces of his car’s body as well. However, Wallace drove away from the accident with less damage than the others who piled in.
At the end of Stage 2, Wallace and his crew chief Seth Barbour elected to not pit to gain track position. Wallace started the final stage of the race from the second position. After a few rough and tumble laps of fending off cars with fresher tires, Wallace settled in around 10th. From there until the end of the race, Wallace continued to reel in the competition, and after making a late-race pass on William Byron, Wallace looked at the scoring pylon and to his disbelief he was in sixth again.
“Unreal. Unreal,” Wallace uttered on pit road following the race.
“Nine laps to go, I was clear by 10 [car lengths]. So I’m coming down the front stretch and I’m looking, looking. I’m like there’s no way we’re in sixth. We were still by 10 then [my spotter] was like clear by five, so I stopped looking. But I had no idea until then,” Wallace relived.
As Wallace spun on lap 66, there was debate inside the media center as to whether the contact with Reddick caused Wallace to spin. Wallace answered that question.
“Yeah no doubt. No doubt,” Wallace said about the whether the contact caused him to spin.
Wallace’s car owner Jack Roush was beside himself on pit road about seeing his young driver’s comeback. He has always believed Wallace is a great driver, but Rosuh was surprised the No. 6 car held up after the beating it took.
“This race track is treacherous right now. You’re going to have to slip, slide around a little to do something. He had his splitter worn off on the front. It was amazing the car still had the speed in it,” said Roush.
Wallace’s most improbable sixth-place finish of his career would not have happened had it not been for what Wallace explains as a increase in performance from his Roush Fenway Racing team over the last year.
“Absolutely. Yeah. We are a top-10 car, no doubt. Every weekend,” Wallace said. “That’s been a big improve[ment] from last year. We were a top-20 car top-15 at best.
Wallace, who moves to fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, will spend the next week enjoying his fifth-consecutive sixth place finish. The Xfinity Series will return to action in two weeks at Bristol Motor Speedway.