Darrell Wallace Jr. held off a late charge from a determined Kyle Larson to win the 2014 edition of the MudSummer Classic.
Darrell Wallace Jr. has won the annual MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway after a thrilling late-race duel with a hungry Kyle Larson, leading 97 of 150 laps. This is the second victory of the season for 'Bubba' Wallace and the third of his career. This victory is somewhat symbolic as well. He joins Wendell Scott (2015 NASCAR HOF Inductee) as the only other African-American to win on a dirt track at one of NASCAR's three national touring series.
Between Kyle Busch, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Erik Jones, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has won a shocking eight of the first ten races this season. Toyota has been the winning manufacturer in every race as well.
"Man, this Toyota Tundra was on a rail tonight," Wallace said. "From the drop of the green flag, it was bad ass." Wallace later added, "I'm still trying to figure out how this happened. All day I'm like, what am I doing?"
Refusing to give up
By the end of the night, Larson's truck was literally falling apart. As he ran Wallace down in the closing laps, the entire right side was roughed up, pieces of both the left rear and right front fender were missing, tire marks were visible on both sides, and the front bumper was falling off. Despite all of this, he kept the pedal through the floor and refused to lift, hitting the wall literally dozens of times.
"I hit the wall way too many time. I hit it pretty hard on that last restart," Larson said. "I feel really stupid. It sucks to lose that way."
When Larson dropped back, Wallace was alone up front with Hornaday nearly four-and-a-half seconds back in second position.
"For some reason, I had a vision that he (Larson) was going to stink up the show on the last lap," Wallace said.
As he zoned in on the rear bumper of Wallace's Toyota, he had another violent impact with the wall. This one finally did him in though and his No. 32 machine gave up. A dejected and despondent Larson pulled to the side, allowing Ron Hornaday Jr. and Ryan Blaney to move into second and third. He would finish 26th.
"We're turning it around, and I'm having a blast," Hornaday said. "What a fun, what a blast."
Kenny Schrader and Ty Dillon rounded out the top five. Behind them, it was John Hunter Nemechek, Jeb Burton, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, and 2013 race winner Austin Dillon in tenth.
A tough night for the pole-sitter
Wallace's teammate, Erik Jones, was the was the pole-sitter and also won the first of five 10-lap heat races from behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, despite never racing on dirt before. Jones went on to lead the first 24 laps of the feature race before giving up the lead to Burton on lap 25 and then spinning because of a right-rear tire issue. His issues only got worse from there, finishing 29th and only beating last place Michael Affarano.
Other heat race winners included Burton (finished seventh), Hornaday (finished second), Blaney (finished third) and Sauter (finished eighth). John Wes Townley won the LCQ to make the show, ending up 19th. Michael Annett, who was the final truck to make the field, came home in 25th.
With his top five result, Ryan Blaney has taken over the championship lead, four points ahead of Matt Crafton. Johnny Sauter is third, just ten points behind.