By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
As the NASCAR Xfinity Series rolled into Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Boyd Gaming 300, Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. was coming off a Top 10 finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. When the field prepared to take the green, Wallace was feeling under the weather.
In the first practice, Wallace’s No. 6 Leidos Ford Mustang was eighth on the speed charts. In the final practice, he was seventh fastest. In qualifying, Wallace was second fastest in the first round, and ended up placing his Roush Fenway Racing car 16th on the starting grid.
When the field took the green flag, Wallace immediately went to work. As he was moved forward, Wallace brushed the wall. Despite the damage, Wallace told his crew that the car improved.
By the halfway mark of the first stage, Wallace was knocking on the door of the Top 10. At lap 45 the first stage of the race came to an end, Wallace found himself inside the Top 10 and earned three Championship points.
Wallace pitted with the entire field under the caution at the end of stage one.
On the restart, Wallace held station, fending off runs from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Ty Dillon and others.
During two consecutive cautions in the middle of the stage, Wallace stayed on the racetrack to gain track position. On the restart, Wallace slid backwards as the field behind him swallowed those on old tires. Seven laps later the green and white checkered flag waved, ending stage two. Wallace ended up 10th and gained another Championship point. He pitted with most the field during the caution between stages.
After the race restarted, Wallace remained just inside the Top 10. Slowly, he moved forward, until he got loose attempting to pass Dillon. Wallace slid back, but recovered quickly.
A barrage of late cautions only helped Wallace as he managed to leap frog several cars that were in front of him.
On the final restart, Wallace broke into the top five. He battled with Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, and Austin Dillon. When the checkered flag waved, Wallace was in the sixth position.
Reports after the race indicated that Wallace received medical attention due to an illness that he was apparently suffering from.
This was Wallace’s second Top 10 of the season, and best career NASCAR Xfinity Series finish at Las Vegas. He is now fifth in points, 29-points behind Sadler.
Wallace and his team will now look ahead to next weekend’s DC Solar 200 at Phoenix International Raceway where they hope to continue building on his streak of Top 10s in 2017.