AVONDALE, Ariz. — As NASCAR’s best took center stage in the Grand Canyon State, there was certainly no shortage of story lines. Sunday’s 500-mile event at ISM Raceway hosted the final race before next weekend’s Championship round, meaning the final eight drivers in the Playoffs were the main focus of Sunday’s event coverage.
As all the chaos ensued on the track, one driver powered through a race that saw two red flags to score a top-10 finish. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., driving the Air Force sponsored Camaro, found himself taking the checkered flag in the tenth position on Veterans Day.
“We were up there and we had underdog speed in the top 15 three quarters through the race and I didn’t like having all those cautions,” Wallace Jr. said. “I did because it would give us a chance to fire back off, but once we got leveled out those guys could just drive right by us. We are still working on our speed.
“We are still making the most of it. It was nice to be able to survive, catch a couple of breaks, catch a lot of breaks actually. Just have luck on our side for once. It was great to have the Air Force on our car for Veteran’s Day and our Chevrolet was actually decent this time.”
Sunday’s top-10 run for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver was the third of his young career. Wallace Jr. picked up his first career top-10 in the season opening Daytona 500 just nine months ago. Unfortunate for Wallace Jr., he struggled through a majority of the season, making do with the equipment he was provided. Wallace Jr. did manage to pick up an eighth place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, just seven races into the season.
One is to believe that Wallace Jr.’s tenth place run Sundsay instilled confidence in himself and his team to finish his rookie season on a high note. Wallace Jr.’s previous best finish at ISM Raceway was a twenty-eighth place result.
In July, Richard Petty Motorsports announced they would extend Wallace Jr.’s contract with the team until the conclusion of the 2020 season. With this top-10 result, Wallace Jr. and his team have something they can build off of as next season approaches.
Darrell Wallace Jr. will make his first Cup series appearance at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. Wallace Jr. has made just two starts at the Florida racetrack in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He finished tenth and 11th respectively back in 2015 and 2016.