Thursday, July 24, 2014

Darrell Wallace Jr. Victorious in Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway

Credit: Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images
Darrell Wallace Jr. withstood Kyle Larson's relentless attack to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Wednesday night.

From the intensity of the heat races to the desperation of the last chance qualifer to the flag-to-flag action of the main event, the sophomore outing at Tony Stewart's iconic Midwestern dirt track lived up to the standard set in the inaugural event last summer. Fans cheered just as loud this year as Norm Benning again raced his way into the main from the last chance qualifier. The four-wide salute was just as impressive, and the main event again delivered the best racing of the Truck season.

Credit:Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
If rubbin' is racin', then the Truck race at Eldora represents racing in its purest form, with Larson well on his way to master status. Wallace Jr. led twice for 97 laps and won the race, but Larson stole the show.

From his starting place in 11th, Larson took the No. 32 Glad Chevy to the top five and while he only led five laps, he challenged the other front-runners at every turn. On more than one occasion, he spun 360°, bounced off the wall and continued down the track, taking aim at his next target., the nose of the bright yellow Silverado pointing toward the infield even as Larson stood on the gas and aimed straight down the track. Finally, with two to go, Larson slammed the wall for the last time, leaving Wallace streaking to the finish and his third career win.

Larson limped to 26th place finish as Wallace gave Kyle Busch Motorsports their eighth win of the season.

Ron Hornaday Jr. showed that he's still got the right stuff, finishing second despite being attacked by younger drivers such as Wallace, Larson, Ty Dillon and Jeb Burton all night. At times Hornaday seemed to be driving with the right tires on the wall as he banged through the corners.

Finishing in third, Ryan Blaney kept his No. 29 near the front all night.  Behind him in fourth, Ken Schrader's experience on dirt was obvious as he found the best lines to run all night.

Ty Dillon overcame a disastrous error by his crew to finish fifth. Just past half way, an encounter with a spinning Kyle Larson cut a left-rear tire on the No. 3, and when Dillon pitted, the official told crew chief Danny Stockman they could change four tires despite the rule that only the affected tire could be changed. The team added fuel, which was only supposed to be added during competition cautions, so Dillon came back to the pits to put the old tires back on again, but since they couldn't remove the fuel from the truck, officials held the No. 3 in the pits for a lap.

Seventeen-year-old John Hunter Nemechek, with no dirt experience, held his own and finished sixth, with Jeb Burton, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon rounding out the top 10.

Polesitter Erik Jones' difficulties began early with a spin on Lap 27 and a wreck on Lap 37, putting him four laps down. He finished 29th out of 30 trucks.

The complete unofficial results:

Fin St #    Driver Laps Status         Led
1 6 54    Darrell Wallace, Jr. 150 running 97
2 3 30    Ron Hornaday, Jr. 150 running 17
3 4 29    Ryan Blaney 150 running 0
4 10 52    Ken Schrader 150 running 0
5 13 3    Ty Dillon 150 running 0
6 18 8    John Hunter Nemechek 150 running 0
7 2 13    Jeb Burton 150 running 7
8 5 98    Johnny Sauter 150 running 0
9 9 88    Matt Crafton 150 running 0
10 19 2    Austin Dillon 150 running 0
11 8 19    Tyler Reddick 150 running 0
12 24 77    German Quiroga 150 running 0
13 21 31    Ben Kennedy 150 running 0
14 7 21    Joey Coulter 150 running 0
15 27 2    Tyler Young 150 running 0
16 14 17    Timothy Peters 150 running 0
17 23 9    Chase Pistone 150 running 0
18 16 63    J.R. Heffner 150 running 0
19 26 5    John Wes Townley 150 running 0
20 17 20    Gray Gaulding 150 running 0
21 15 50    T.J. Bell 150 running 0
22 12 35    Mason Mingus 150 running 0
23 20 99    Bryan Silas 150 running 0
24 25 8    Korbin Forrister 150 running 0
25 30 14    Michael Annett 149 running 0
26 11 32    Kyle Larson 148 crash 5
27 29 6    Norm Benning 148 running 0
28 28 80    Jody Knowles 148 running 0
29 1 51    Erik Jones 144 running 24
30 22 3    Mike Affarano 93 overheating 0

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