By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace, Jr. had a career day going in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Wallace ran up front inside the Top 10 and battled for the lead for much of the day before a bad pit stop and subsequent poor track position put him 28th.
When Wallace’s No. 6 Disney Pixar Cars 3 Ford Mustang team unloaded off the truck, they were uncharacteristically slow in the first practice, only managing to land 16th on the speed charts. The Roush Fenway Racing team improved to 14th in the second practice for the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway. Qualifying was disappointing as Wallace ended up 18th on the starting grid.
Wallace quickly moved forward after the drop of the green flag. Several quick cautions in Stage 1 helped him jump into the Top 10 early. When Stage 1 came to an end, Wallace was in eighth, earning an extra three Championship Driver points.
Stage 2 proved to be just as good as Stage 1 for Wallace. He moved forward with a late caution reeling in race leader Ryan Blaney.
On the restart, Wallace immediately began hounding Blaney for the lead. With five laps to go Wallace finally got underneath Blaney and passed him exiting turn four. Blaney attempted to catch back up, breaking loose twice. However, it was to no avail as Wallace took the Stage 2 win, qualifying for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash, as well as earning 10 Championship Driver points and one Playoff Point. This was his first stage win of the season.
Wallace pitted with much of the field between the second and final stage. There were several that stayed on track on an alternate strategy that had pitted under the late Stage 2 caution.
On the restart, Wallace found himself on the inside of a three-wide situation entering turn three. He contacted the No. 90 Coastal Carolina University Chevrolet Camaro of Brandon Brown. The contact sent both drivers up the track as they recovered. Wallace dropped several positions as a result.
Wallace slowly began to move forward once again. He picked off positions on by one as he climbed his way back into the Top 10.
When the checkered flag waved, Wallace was in eighth. This is Wallace’s seventh Top 10 of the season (and first Top 10 of 2017 that was not a sixth-place finish). This was also the 34th Top 10 of his career.
Wallace also moved up from fifth to fourth in points, behind a trio of JR Motorsports drivers. He is 84 points behind points leader Elliott Sadler, and 82 points ahead of the cutoff for the Playoffs.
Wallace was disappointed that he failed to win the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus,
“Heartbreak day. We have one more race left and this one was the one we were going to win, for sure. It just didn’t happen. We can’t get any luck. I got a little sideways on that one restart and it cost us a little bit. It was a good day for our Cars 3 Mustang team. It was ours. It would have been nice to get the $100,000 and bought us our Michigan race that we don’t have.”
Now Wallace and his Roush Fenway Racing team will look ahead to next weekend’s Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway where they hope to pull off the upset in order to add to their schedule.