For the majority of the first Can-Am Duel, Darrell Wallace Jr. hovered in the back half of the top 10. But when a caution came out with three laps to go, the famed No. 43 machine was in position to pick up the victory.
On the green-white-checkered finish, Wallace restarted third and was able push Ryan Blaney to the lead. For the next lap-and-a-half, the No. 43 machine was in the runner-up position, until Joey Logano got by Wallace at the checked flag, moving his Chevrolet back to third.
“It was good,” Wallace said of his third-place effort. “The top line prevailed on restarts. We got some good breaks starting on the top and maintaining the gap and not losing to the car in front of us and letting the slide jobs happen. We were pretty excited about that and we happened to make the most of it. We did great tonight and made some adjustments under our pit stop that actually helped our car. It was tuned up and we were almost there.
“I just moved up too late there to get it, but seventh is better than 25th. I’m proud of my guys and proud of everyone back at the shop.”
Wallace enters his first Daytona 500 start with six career XFINITY Series starts at Daytona with a best finish of sixth in 2016. In two career Camping World Truck Series starts at the World Center of Racing, Wallace has a top result of 12th.
One of the goals for Wallace in Thursday’s Duel was to get experience and not pull out the backup for the 500. Thus why finishing third is good in his book.
“Being able to start seventh now is really good,” he said. “We still need to work on some stuff. There was some stuff that I felt different in practice for the race. We will go back and tune on it over the next few days and see what we’ve got.”
There are four practice sessions between Thursday’s Duels and the Daytona 500, the first of which will be held at 1:05 p.m. ET on Friday.