For many drivers, sneaking into the top 5 with a late-race pit call would be something to celebrate. However, for Darrell Wallace, Jr., and Roush Fenway Racing, all it does it remind them that they need to be better.
After running just outside of the top five for the majority of Friday’s ALSCO 300 at Kentucky Speedway, Wallace was one of many drivers in the back-half of the top 10 to come to pit road during the caution that preceded NASCAR Overtime to end the race.
With fresh rubber, Wallace maneuvered his way past Elliott Sadler on the race’s final lap to snag a fifth-place result.
“It’s a good night for us, but we’ve got to be better,” Wallace said. “We finished fifth, so that was a good rebound from when he showed up here at Kentucky.”
Starting 11th, Wallace dropped as far back as 14th over the race’s opening stint, but his No. 6 RFR team adjusted his car throughout the night to give Wallace a machine capable of running inside of the top 10.
“We were way off in left field, so we worked hard all night long,” Wallace said. “There were no mistakes on pit road. I kept sliding through, so I need to work on that. The mistakes are on me, but my guys are awesome.”
While last season showcased a strong RFR team in the XFINITY Series while the Sprint Cup Series struggled, this season the roles have been reversed. As Roush’s Cup program has begun to turn things around, the XFINITY program has struggled. Still, Wallace is confident that his team’s on the right path to success.
“They’ve (RFR) really been hitting on some stuff on the Cup side and it’s kind of trickling down to the XFINITY shop, so we just have to keep taking notes and keep trying things.”
Ultimately, though, while Wallace is proud of his team, the second-year driver understands that improvements still need to be made as the XFINITY Series’ inaugural Chase draws near.
“They did a great job, but we’ve got to be better,” Wallace said. “Fifth is good, but we’re getting close to Chase time, so we need to start winning.”
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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