By David Morgan, NASCAR Writer
Throughout the 2016 season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Darrell Wallace, Jr. and his No. 6 Roush-Fenway Racing team have either been hit or miss, with finishes outside the top-10 occurring more often than not for the 22 year old.
At the start of the weekend at Dover International Speedway, it looked like Saturday’s race at the Monster Mile was going to be more of the same after a crash in practice that caused Wallace and his team to break out the backup car, but by the end of the day on Saturday, it was Wallace that would have the last laugh.
In his backup car, Wallace timed in 13th fastest in qualifying to start the first heat race in seventh. Wallace was able to improve one position in his heat race to finish sixth, giving him an 11th place start in the main event.
Once the race started, Wallace methodically made his way up the leaderboard, cracking the top-five by lap 40. He was able to keep his Ford inside the top-five for the next 30 laps before falling to sixth as the laps wound down in the race. While it looked like Wallace would likely finish around the sixth position, a late race caution with nine laps remaining changed everything.
Under the final caution, leader Erik Jones stayed out, while a handful of others behind him elected to hit pit road for service. Wallace’s team also stayed out on the track, giving him the second place position for the final restart. Though Wallace was not able to catch Jones over the final five laps, he was able to hold onto second for his best career Xfinity Series finish.
The finish now gives him two top-five finishes on the season, with his other top-five coming at Fontana with a third place result.
“Our team, I keep saying it, we never give up. It is really a credit to my guys right here for really thrashing this thing. It is unfortunate when you do have to bring the backup car out, like we talked about earlier. We never give up and we work really hard to get some speed in this baby. I can’t thank LoudMouth Exhaust enough for coming on board. This is a good debut for them. They will be on our car in Charlotte. We will go have some fun in two weeks, a home track for us, and hopefully we can get one spot better,” said Wallace.
“That was big. Obviously, backing up what Alex said, we have to win races. He is in a tougher spot than I am and that was a hell of a job by him but I have to do the same thing. We will be fighting all day over that. We just have to continue on. We can use this for motivation but I said earlier we are nowhere near close to where we need to be. We are off on speed and handling and we know that. We have another off weekend to find some more for our Ford Mustangs. We have to keep plugging away. We can’t get frustrated and just give up on it. We have to keep our heads up and work together to get our team better. This is a really good day for us. I can go to sleep tonight knowing that we gave it our all, especially after the backup car and all those shenanigans, it kind of erased that, until I go in Monday and hear all about it again in the debrief.”
Image: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images