In a Nutshell: Darrell Wallace, Jr. dominated the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway to claim his first Camping World Truck Series victory. Wallace was the only driver to remain in the top 10 throughout the entire day, leading a race-high 96 laps. Jeb Burton, Brendan Gaughan, Ben Kennedy and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 5.
Author’s Note: As of press time, results are still unofficial and subject to change until NASCAR releases the official results after having time to review scoring loops and video.
Who Should Have Won: Darrell Wallace, Jr. The best Truck all day, this rookie was up front when it counted in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. One by one, challengers from Ty Dillon, to Kevin Harvick, to Brendan Gaughan made a run at him but no one could get alongside.
Did you miss the race? In this section of Tracking the Trucks, you’ll find the major storylines that went on all in one place.
Ty Dillon and Kevin Harvick Wreck Late; Drama Ensues
With less than 20 laps to go, Ty Dillon and Kevin Harvick were battling for second place. Dillon turned Harvick, spinning him while also collecting Matt Crafton and Chase Elliott. Unhappy with one another, Dillon and Harvick continued to make contact under caution and on pit road. Harvick then blocked Dillon from entering his pit. Dillon’s crew responded by charging after the Cup regular, driving for NTS Motorsports. A sledgehammer was thrown at Harvick’s No. 14, hitting it in the driver’s side door.
Harvick eventually pulled his truck into the garage and was credited with a 30th-place finish while Dillon went on to end the race in 22nd. In his post-race interview, Kevin Harvick had harsh words about Richard Childress Racing and the favoritism of the Dillon brothers, claiming that it is the primary reason why he is leaving RCR at the end of this Cup season. After the race, Ty Dillon called Harvick a “punk” for his on-track antics and also for not talking about the incident with him. Neither driver was forced to report to the Camping World Truck Series hauler after the race, but expect some penalties to follow due to the sledgehammer throw.
Comers and Goers
A number of drivers ran up front at the start of the race, fell to the back and worked their way up to the front at the end. Denny Hamlin led the second most laps (65) but was spun on the frontstretch by Matt Crafton on lap 145. After fixing damage to the rear of the car, Hamlin steadily worked his way through the field and wound up sixth. Meanwhile, German Quiroga received a pass-through penalty for changing lanes before the start/finish line on a restart, lost a lap and was outside the top 20 with 30 laps to go. After receiving the Lucky Dog, German made some great moves to pass strong trucks and finished a surprising seventh. Finally, the point leader, Johnny Sauter, was involved in the fifth caution of the race on Lap 129, spinning James Buescher. He had a bit of front end damage but took advantage of incidents in front of him to bring home an eighth-place result.
- Darrell Wallace, Jr. became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national race since Wendell Scott in 1963. Wallace is the second graduate from the Drive 4 Diversity program and the second to win a NASCAR national race series (Kyle Larson won at Rockingham earlier this year).
- Four Rookie of the Year candidates finished in the top seven, including race winner Darrell Wallace, Jr. Ben Kennedy claimed his best career finish (fourth) today at Martinsville. His previous best finish was 15th at Iowa Speedway this season.
Truck Rookie Report
2013 Rookie of the Year Candidates
Ryan Blaney (No. 29) – Started 24th, Finished 5th
Jeb Burton (No. 4) – Started 9th, Finished 3rd
Brennan Newberry (No. 24) – Started 31st, Finished 24th
German Quiroga, Jr. (No. 77) – Started 6th, Finished 7th
Darrell Wallace, Jr. (No. 54) – Started 3rd, Finished 1st
No. of Rookies in the Race: 12 (add Chase Elliott, Ben Kennedy, Daniel Hemric, John H. Nemechek, Brandon Jones, Brad Riethmeyer and Jimmy Weller)
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 5
Rookie of the Race: Darrell Wallace, Jr., Race Winner
Each week we’ll take a look at the championship picture and find out which drivers were affected the most by the racing on track.
Biggest Winner: It wasn’t pretty, but James Buescher made gains on Matt Crafton. James was spun by Johnny Sauter on lap 129 and battled back to finish 10th, moved to second in points and gained six points on the championship leader.
Biggest Loser: While running third with less than 20 laps to go, Ty Dillon spun Kevin Harvick and received damage from the incident as well as from extracurricular crumples from Harvick on the racetrack, both under caution and on pit road. Dillon finished 22nd with a damaged truck and fell from second to third in points. Ty Dillon is now 61 points behind leader Matt Crafton.
Points Update: Crafton had simple instructions coming into Martinsville: stay up front, keep the nose clean and finish ahead of Ty Dillon and James Buescher. He wasn’t able to accomplish all of those things, finishing 17th after being involved in the wreck between Ty Dillon and Kevin Harvick. However, Matt still leads the points and only lost six to James Buescher, who leapt over Ty Dillon for second. The Thorsport Racing driver seems to have this title wrapped up with just three races left to go.
“It’s indescribable. I’m bawling my eyes out. This is an emotional win for me, for my team, for everybody back home. I wish my mom could make it out, but we’re expecting a baby with my sister so she’s at home and we’re ready for that. All excitement all around the Wallaces – the race team and everywhere. This is emotional. I want to thank every single one of you fans for coming out here. I love Martinsville. It treats me so well. I don’t know what to say. It’s awesome.” – Darrell Wallace, Jr., race winner
“I’m happier for Darrell (Wallace Jr.) than anybody, but this is certainly a monumental day and hopefully one that he’ll remember for a long time and can cherish. The first one is always the most important one because it seems like [wins] can just come right after that pretty easily.” – Kyle Busch, owner, Kyle Busch Motorsports
“It’s just like Daytona and Talladega – this was one to get through and we lost minimal points I guess to the 31 (James Buescher). I think he finished tenth and we finished 17th. It wasn’t the end of the world. We did everything we had to do. We came here and put ourselves in position to win the race at the end of the race.” – Matt Crafton, finished 17th
“We didn’t start out very well. We started off in the back, made decent time and picked up a few spots there in the beginning. Then, we got spun out there early in the race and so we had to go to the back. We worked our way back forward and we stayed on a different pit tire strategy than everyone else and stayed out when everyone took tires. That really hurt us, but we caught a caution at the right time and were able to come in and make adjustments — and luckily, got a top-5 finish.” – Ryan Blaney, finished fifth
“So stoked coming off a fourth here. It’s only my fourth start I think, I’m not really sure. Huge thank you to Turner Scott Motorsports for giving me this opportunity this weekend. Just have to thank everyone for this opportunity. We’re trying to run full-time next year and hopefully get something locked down before that. Love this place, a ton of fun. First time I’ve raced here, first time I’ve been on this track.” – Ben Kennedy, finished fourth
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series has a quick turnaround this week as they head to Texas Motor Speedway, Friday night under the lights. Johnny Sauter is the defending race winner and looks to duplicate that result as he still hopes to battle for the championship with three races remaining. The Winstar World Casino 350 will be televised live, on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 8:30 PM ET. It can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90.
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