Byron, Wallace Jr. net top-10 finishes at Texas
By Dominic Aragon and Matt Courson
April 8, 2018
FORT WORTH—For the first time in 2018, both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year contenders placed inside the top 10 in the same race.
Darrell Wallace Jr. and William Byron finished eighth and 10th respectively Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
For Wallace, it was his first top-10 finish since a second-place run in the season opening Daytona 500.
“We’ve had decent cars and we’ve had races that where we thought we were really good and things just didn’t go our way, and some things it was out of our control and sometimes it was in our control,” Wallace said.
“Our guys are prepped to win each and every race and that’s the mentality we have, and that’s what you gotta have at the top level.
“...The race went somewhat smooth, we had to cleanup a little bit of stuff but that’s what that week off produces. It’s good to walk away with a top 10 for our Click N Close team.”
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver unofficially ranks 19th in driver’s standings after Texas, 20 points behind the final playoff-eligible position.
Texas was the first time in four Cup Series races Wallace was the highest finishing rookie.
Byron’s 10th-place showing marks the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s first career top-10 in NASCAR’s premier series. His previous best was a 12th-place finish at ISM Raceway in March.
“It feels awesome, it feels great to get a top 10,” Byron said. “It obviously takes a lot of things to happen. We didn’t quite have the speed we wanted to.
“We were really good in practice but I think some of our weaknesses showed up when the rubber laid down on the track a little bit on the bottom groove.
“Overall, it was a pretty good day and we can definitely build on this.”
Byron sits 18th in driver’s standings, unofficially 11 points behind the final playoff-eligible spot.
Through seven races, Byron has been the top-finishing rookie three times.