Repeats wins were all the news in the NASCAR world this weekend as Darrell Wallace Jr., Sam Hornish, Jr. and Kyle Larson once again found victory lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
LTi Printing 200
The weekend began at Michigan International Speedway with racing action from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Although Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton picked up the pole for Saturday’s race, his veteran status wouldn’t get him another checkered flag.
Instead, a driver who hasn’t raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2014 found his rightful place in Victory Lane at the end of this 100-lap race. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, whose motorsports career has been a bit topsy-turvy this year after losing his NASCAR XFINITY Series with Roush Fenway Racing due to a lack of sponsorship, returned to a side of the sport that he seemed groomed for on Saturday. Despite struggling early on, including having to serve a pit road penalty on Lap 53, Wallace worked his way to the front of the field as the laps wound down in this race.
Though he seemed content to ride in the third-place position behind rookies Austin Cindric and Christopher Bell as this race began to come to a close, Wallace and his spotter Freddie Kraft were actually hatching a plan that would involve the two young drivers getting side-by-side so he could pass both at once. With 11 laps to go, that plan came to life as Wallace Jr. found his way to the lead and was able to block on the high, low and middle line in order to pull off his first win in three years.
“I closed my eyes, turned left and heard clear,” said Wallace when discussing the heroic three-wide move to give truck owner Mike Millner his first series victory. “It has been so long since I’ve been in victory lane and this is a sweet victory, so I’ll take it and cherish it for as long as I can.”
Despite his win, Wallace’s future in NASCAR continues to be up in the air. Stay tuned as we will continue following the career of NASCAR’s only full-time African-American driver.
Following Bubba Wallace Jr.’s win at Michigan, road course ringer Sam Hornish Jr. would show his fellow NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers how to take a pole with his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory in more than a year.
Making his third start of the season in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford, Hornish led a race-high 61 of 75 laps at the 2.258-mile circuit in his home state. While his first two starts of the season ended early in crashes, Hornish was able to survive a flurry of late-race caution flags, two red flags and challenges from Daniel Hemric to grab his fifth XFINITY career win.
“To run here, a place I remember having so many memories as a kid, to not ever to have been able to win and to be able to check that off the list today, that’s a big one for me,” said Hornish. “As the calendar goes around another year, you start wondering how many opportunities you’re going to have like today and I am so glad to have this.”
Series points leader Elliott Sadler also rallied for a top-10 finish and continues to lead the field by more than 80 points, ahead of rising star William Byron.
The stars of NASCAR will return to work next weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all the latest NASCAR news going into next weekend’s short track racing action at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Pure Michigan 400
Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson also found his way back to Victory Lane for the third time this season, as well as the third time at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.
Despite Larson’s busy schedule this weekend, which included an opportunity to compete in Saturday’s Knoxville Nationals, the spectacular driver would bring home his latest checkered flag following the final few laps of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
While it seemed Penske Racing would be on top for the second time this season after driver Brad Keselowski took home the pole and led 103 of the first 110 laps of this race (105 laps overall), this dream would fall short as his No. 2 Ford began to fade as the laps wound down for a 17th place finish.
As Keselowski’s reign of dominance faded, this race seemed down to two cars – the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr. and No. 42 of Kyle Larson. While Truex led a young Larson until the final two laps of the 202-laps of this race, Larson dived past Truex in a major jumble near the front of the pack on the final green-flag run. After continuing to make a few bold moves during an overtime restart, Larson would have yet another reason to celebrate this weekend.
“This win feels amazing, especially after following it up with a second-place finish at the Knoxville Nationals,” said Larson. “My other three wins I felt like we had the first- or second-best car, and at times I didn’t think we were a top-10 car during this race. So, to get the win that way is awesome.”
“We got beat fair and square,” Truex said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. Double‑file restarts are tricky, and I had good restarts all day I felt like, and we had that red flag for the first time and just sat there while I got the tires cold and then only had one lap to come to the green and get some heat back in them, and I just struggled getting going, just spun the tires. I didn’t really expect it because I hadn’t had any trouble with that all day.”
While Larson has an opportunity to celebrate his latest win, race rookie Martin Truex Jr. continues to lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings going into next weekend’s race action at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all the latest in NASCAR news.