Darrell Wallace, Jr. won Wednesday night’s 1-800-CarCash MudSummerClassic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. It was the 20-year-old Mobile, Alabama native’s third career win and second of 2014 and first at any point on dirt.
He just doesn’t know how he did it.
“I’m still trying to figure out how this happened,” Wallace said after the race. “All day I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ Right off the bat, I said this truck was badass. We were able to get out front on a restart and control our own destiny.”
When he’s able to recall the night, Wallace will remember a fairly dominating performance. Wallace led 97 laps in the 150-lap race at Eldora. He held off Kyle Larson, who pushed his No. 32 Truck to the front and into the outside wall on numerous occasions in his bid for the win. In the end, Larson hit the wall one too many times, knocking the right-front off his Truck in the final laps. That allowed Wallace to drive to victory lane at Eldora.
“He’s a Cup guy now and he came out here for this one show,” said Wallace of Larson. “He was using the wall up all day, so we kind of found that as a strong point for him because he knew where (the wall) was. He’s a dirt guy. But then at the end of the race that was kind of a downfall for him.”
Wallace now has another banner victory to his credit. After winning at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia last year for his first victory, then at the resurrected Gateway International Raceway earlier this season, Wallace added a “golden shovel” trophy to his collection at his North Carolina home.
After an up-and-down rookie season in 2013 and a sluggish start to 2014, Wallace is back in championship form after scoring the eight win for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season.
“Everyone gets tired of the repeat winners, but Kyle gets in and it’s an automatic win. But I didn’t expect to win this one. I expected Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon – one of the dirt guys- to walk away with it. You don’t give up no matter what time of the day.”
“I said we’d come out and win multiple races, and that was just the 54 team. Is that a longshot? No. Was it last year? Yeah. I didn’t know what I was doing. Every track I was new to. We’re going to these tracks now and we’re fast.
“Coming off the rookie season, I really learned a lot and put a lot in the memory bank. From the get-go I knew we’d be a strong team. Just bad luck started on our side at the beginning of the season put us back in the points. Now we’re playing catch up again but we’re doing it smart. I think last year I’d try to catch up on the racetrack, try to lead every lap, all that stuff and get caught up in a bad spot. Now we have fun, we relax, we work together and we win as a team and we lose as a team.”
Ron Hornaday, Jr. mixed it up in the top-five throughout the race and took advantage of his teammate Larson’s late-race exit from second to finish in the runner-up position. Ryan Blaney finished third, with Ken Schrader and Ty Dillon in the top-five. Larson finished 26th.
Replay Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage of the MudSummer Classic at this link: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-nascar-camping-world-trucks-at-eldora/
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Diretor. Twitter: @MattKentfield. Photo credit: Speed51.com