Bubba Wallace returned to Victory Lane for the first time since 2014 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
In his first in the Camping World Truck Series in three years, Wallace led 11 laps to give the No. 99 MDM Motorsports Chevrolet its first career win in just its 11th career start for the Matthew Miller-owned team.
For Wallace, 23, the LTiPrinting 200 was his sixth career truck win in 45 starts.
“This is definitely a confidence booster for me — and I needed this,” Wallace said. “I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. It’s a sweet victory for sure.”
Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Ryan Truex, rookie Austin Cindric, Matt Crafton, Noah Gragson, Grant Enfinger, Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley rounded out the top 10.
“It’s really cool to see Bubba come back and win like that in his first race,” Bell said.
Justin Haley and Austin Cindric remained on the track between segments and led the field to green. Bell was the first truck off of pit road with a splash-n-go pit stop. Enfinger ran fourth followed by Cody Coughlin, Friesen, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch, Ben Rhodes, Ryan Truex, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Matt Crafton, Tyler Young and Kaz Grala. Busch, Rhodes, Truex and Briscoe were the only trucks in the top 15 to take four tires for the final run. Johnny Sauter, who came out of the pits 15th was forced to restart 19th after the team received a penalty for an uncontrolled tire.
As the trucks entered Turn 1, Coughlin made contact with Wallace and slammed nose-first into the SAFER barrier on the inside wall at the exit of pit road. The impact lifted Coughlin’s truck in the air. Busch, who had led 47 laps, was damaged in the incident and came to pit road.
Before the race returned to green, Briscoe radioed into the crew he had a flat left rear tire and pitted from eighth. The No. 29 truck returned to pit road for the team to repair damage from the flat tire. Briscoe restarted 17th.
Cindric led the field to green on Lap 73. Haley, Enfinger, Bell, Wallace, Friesen, Rhodes, Truex, Gragson, Crafton, Grala, Self, Young, Sauter and Busch rounded out the top 15. Busch moved up to the top 10 after the first lap.
With 25 laps remaining, Cindric held onto a .061-second lead over Bell, Wallace, Truex, Crafton, Gragson, Enfinger, Haley, Rhodes and Busch completed the top 10. On new tires, Briscoe moved up to 11th.
Cindric led a six-truck breakaway with Bell, Wallace, Truex, Crafton and Gragson in tow. On Lap 80, Wallace was pushed from the draft but slipped back in line. On Lap 84, Briscoe passed Rhodes for 10th.
Cindric held a .162-second advantage over Bell with 15 laps remaining while Crafton attempted to get Wallace loose and move to third. Busch climbed to sixth-place with 12 laps to go.
Sauter pitted on Lap 89.
Bell passed Cindric for the lead but Wallace took the Nos. 4 and 19 trucks three-wide then moved around both drivers for the lead with 10 laps remaining.
“I held it wide open —closed my eyes and wheeled back by him,” Wallace said. “I tried to take his air away coming into (Turn) 3 and it all worked out.”
Cindric was second followed by Truex, Bell, Busch, Crafton, Gragson, Enfinger, Haley and Briscoe.
Bell moved back to third with eight laps remaining with Busch and Truex behind. Crafton, Gragson, Enfinger, Briscoe and Haley rounded out the top 10.
Wallace’s lead was .123-seconds over Cindric with five laps to go. Busch moved to the inside of Bell for third coming to the line with three to go. He passed Cindric entering Turn 1. But Cindric and Bell passed the No. 51 with two to go.
On the last lap, Cindric went inside the No. 99 truck with one lap to go. Bell took second, then attacked Wallace. But Wallace held on for the win.
Bell continues to lead the point standings with a 37-point advantage over Sauter.
Kyle Busch swept the first two stages and held off Ryan Truex at the finish of the second segment by .366-seconds. Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Kaz Grala, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top 10.
Busch controlled the restart but Chase Briscoe went low to take it three-wide when the race returned to green on Lap 37. NASCAR put the restart under review later reported the restart was good.
Busch held the point on Lap 40 followed by Briscoe, Crafton, Gragson, Bell, Truex, Enfinger, Cindric and Grala.
On Lap 41, Sauter, who was running 12th, came to pit road with a flat right side tire. He dropped to 19th, one lap down.
Busch led a six-truck breakaway on Lap 45 followed by Briscoe, Crafton, Gragson, Bell and Truex. Enfinger, Cindric, Grala and Rhodes rounded out the top 10.
At the midway point of the race, Busch led 35 of 51 laps. Briscoe maintained second followed by Crafton, Bell, Truex, Gragson, Enfinger, Cindric, Grala and Rhodes.
The third caution was called for Jordan Anderson, whose hood flipped up on Lap 51. Bell was the first truck on pit road. Cindric, Enfinger, Wallace, Austin Wayne Self, Tyler Young, Cody Coughlin and Friesen also pitted. Sauter was the lucky dog and restarted 19th.
Busch led the field to the restart with five laps remaining in the stage. Briscoe, Crafton, Truex, Gragson, Grala, Haley and Rhodes followed.
Briscoe was hung out dropped to seventh as Truex moved up to second followed by Bell on new tires, Grala, Grafton and Haley. Rhodes advanced to seventh on Lap 56, his teammate Enfinger claimed ninth.
With two laps to go, Busch held the point followed by Truex, Bell, Crafton, Grala, Haley, Rhodes, Gragson, Briscoe and Enfinger. Nineteen trucks remained on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch won the first stage in the Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
The No. 51 KBM truck passed the line with a mere .097-second advantage over Briscoe, who rode his bumper on the last lap. Polesitter Matt Crafton was third followed by Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Ryan Truex, Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell.
Crafton led the field to green at the start of the LTi Printing 200. Briscoe came from fourth to second on the first lap. John Hunter Nemechek ran third followed by Sauter, Kyle Busch (who started 10th), Cindric, Grala, Rhodes, Justin Haley and Gragson.
Wallace, who started ninth, got loose on Lap 3 and dropped to 11th.
The first caution ignited on Lap 4 when Nemechek got loose off of Turn 2 after losing the side-draft alongside Briscoe and spins while battling for second.
“I had a run and I went for it on the 29 and he didn’t give me much room,” Nemechek said. “It sucks to be out of the game this early.”
Nemechek finished 29th. For Briscoe, the rookie was happy just to hold onto his truck after the incident.
“I thought I was going to hit the fence after the fact because I got so far into the gray,” Briscoe said after avoiding the No. 8 truck as Nemechek went around.
Crafton retained the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 10 followed by Briscoe, Kyle Busch, Sauter, Cindric, Grala, Rhodes, Haley, Gragson and rookie Stewart Friesen, who started 16th.
Busch pushed Briscoe to the point and he led Lap 11, but series’ champion Sauter took the No. 29 and 51 trucks three-wide for the lead. Briscoe returned to the lead on Lap 14 followed by Crafton, Busch, Rhodes, Sauter, Cindric, Gragson, Grala, Bell and Haley.
Busch took the lead from Briscoe on Lap 16 — midway through the segment. Twenty-four trucks remained on the lead lap.
Busch led a five-truck draft after the first 20 circuits with Briscoe, Crafton, Rhodes and Sauter in tow. On the next lap, the front trucks lost Sauter. He drifted back with Cindric, Gragson, Grala, bell and Ryan Truex. Truex moved up eighth and was working on Gragson with six laps in the segment.
With five laps to complete the stage, Busch’s lead was .127-seconds over Briscoe. Crafton, Rhodes, Sauter, Cindric, Gragson, Truex, Wallace and Grala rounded out the top 10.
The trucks pitted on Lap 33. Busch retained the lead followed by Truex, who had a two-tire stop, Briscoe, Crafton, Rhodes, Tyler Young, Cindric, Grala, Grant Enfinger, Bell, Sauter, Grala, Wallace, Friesen and Haley.
Watch race highlights and interviews after Darrell Wallace Jr. scored the win on Saturday:
|1||99||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||100||11|
|15||44||Austin Wayne Self||Chevrolet||100||32.999|
|16||45||T.J. Bell||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|17||49||Wendell Chavous||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|18||21||Johnny Sauter||Chevrolet||99||1 lap||1|
|19||50||Josh Reaume||Chevrolet||98||2 laps|
|20||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||82||18 laps|
|21||13||Cody Coughlin||Toyota||65||35 laps|
|22||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||48||52 laps|
|23||1||Jordan Anderson||Chevrolet||33||67 laps|
|24||63||Travis Kvapil||Chevrolet||16||84 laps|
|25||36||Todd Peck||Chevrolet||12||88 laps|
|26||0||Ray Ciccarelli||Chevrolet||11||89 laps|
|27||57||Mike Senica||Chevrolet||8||92 laps|
|28||83||Todd Peck||Chevrolet||5||95 laps|
|29||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||4||96 laps|
|30||87||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||2||98 laps