Bubba Wallace wins dramatic Gateway truck raceJune 14, 2014 No Comments
NASCAR hasn’t raced at Gateway Motorsports Park since 2010. The last time a national touring series visited the track, it had a different name.
With the heavy influx of youth now overtaking the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the majority of the field had never raced at the unique racetrack before Saturday night’s event.
Despite the vast inexperience throughout the field, the race was dominated by the youth of the sport.
Darrell Wallace Jr., Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek all took turns pacing at the front of the field, proving that they were the main threats for the win.
However, one veteran of the series pressured each of the young-guns throughout the night; defending series champion and one of the only drivers in the field that had prior experience at Gateway, Matt Crafton.
Crafton, who’s previous best finish at Gateway was fifth in 2010, challenged the young drivers throughout the night. Crafton eventually took the lead of the race from Nemechek, however a few laps later his night ended with a cut tire.
That left a battle between leader, Nemechek, Wallace Jr. and Jones in the remaining laps with included three-wide racing and even late-race contact coming into the picture.
The contact reared its ugly head for two of the young drivers, ending the nights of Nemechek and Jones in separate incidents.
Nemechek cut a left-rear tire and slammed the turn three wall, while Jones was spun by German Quiroga with less than ten laps remaining while leading the race.
“[Jones] started getting loose,” Quiroga said after the race regarding the incident.
“[Jones] drove really deep into [turn] one and started getting loose and he slowed like a lot on the exit and I just…to be honest..kept on going to the left and give him enough room but he was already sideways.”
That setup the final restart of the night with Quiroga and Wallace Jr. on the front row, with Wallace Jr. driving his No.54 Toyota Tundra deep into the first corner and coming out with the lead.
Wallace Jr. would see a challenge from Quiroga on the final lap, but held on for the win in Saturday night’s Drivin for Linemen 200.
“It was wild,” Wallace Jr. said about the end of the race. “I thought it was out of our hands there until that caution with [Jones].”
Saturday night’s win was the second of Wallace Jr.’s Camping World Truck Series career and his first of the 2014 season. With the win, the driver affectionally known as “Bubba”, became the first driver other than Kyle Busch or Crafton to win in 2014 in the series.
“Kyle wasn’t in the race, but he dominated the night,” Wallace Jr. said.
Wallace Jr. moved from eleventh to ninth in series points with the win. With a fourth place finish, Johnny Sauter is now the series points leader heading into the June 26 race at Kentucky (Sparta) Speedway.
Drivin For Linemen 200 Unofficial Results
1: Darrell Wallace Jr.
2: German Quiroga
3: Timothy Peters
4: Johnny Sauter
5: Ron Hornaday Jr.
6: Cole Custer
7: Ryan Blaney
8: John Wes Townley
9: Chase Pistone
10: Tayler Malsam
11: Joey Coulter
12: Mason Mingus
13: Tyler Reddick
14: Ben Kennedy
15: John Hunter Nemechek
16: Bryan Silas
17: Tyler Young
18: Jeb Burton
19: TJ Bell
20: Gray Gaulding
21: Korbin Forrister
22: Norm Benning
23: Erik Jones
24: Ray Black Jr.
25: Ted Minor
26: Matt Crafton
27: Jennifer Jo Cobb
28: Scott Stenzel
29: Adam Edwards
30: Charles Lewandowski
31: Caleb Roark
32: Justin JenningsTags: Darrell Wallace Jr, Drivin For Linemen 200, Erik Jones, Gateway Motorsports Park, John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton, NASCAR Camping World Trick Series, Recap, Unofficial ResultsCoverage