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Darrell Wallace Jr. paying it forward with new scholarship, foundation

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If you want Darrell Wallace Jr. to help pay for your college experience, you need to be a better student than he was.

That’s the underlying theme behind Wallace’s first philanthropic venture, “The Bubba Wallace Scholarship.”

“What’s funny is and I’ll be honest with you, I was kind of the opposite of what the scholarship lays out, so it’s kind of funny that it’s all coming back around,” Wallace told NBC Sports.

It also helps to be a student at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord, North Carolina.

The Xfinity Series driver announced Jan. 31 he had established the “merit-based” scholarship at has alma mater to benefit one student a year beginning in 2017.

The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to a senior graduating who is “a hard working individual with focus and determination, who is ready to pursue their dreams.”

As an aspiring race car driver in school, Wallace could check off all of these – except when it came to his academics.

“Once racing came about for me I was so focused on racing, and school potentially wound up coming second,” Wallace said. “It was like, ‘let’s just do what we need to do to get by.’ And now I’m over here preaching. We’re looking for the ones that don’t do what they need to do just to get by, we need the ones with expectations, so it’s kind of funny.”

The scholarship, which Wallace approached his alma mater about after brainstorming with his “brand manager” Kyle Hall, is his first attempt to establish his name on something that isn’t a race car or a trophy.

“I was always told to never forget where I came from,” Wallace said. “Because I would get my butt whooped from my mom, who was the one saying not to forget where I came from.”

The Mobile, Alabama, native said there’s a “little pressure” in having to make the decision of choosing which potential student receives his scholarship as an investment in their future.

“If all goes well on the race track, then it’s easy for me to set that money aside and obviously start managing and planning out our next move for the scholarship program,” Wallace said. “There’s not really a right or wrong person here. I wouldn’t say there’s too much pressure, it’s all about finding the one that exceeds all levels that the scholarship has the foundations of and just going along with it.”

Wallace is entering his third Xfinity season driving the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. This will be his fifth full-time season competing in one of NASCAR’s national series after two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series. The African-American driver won five races in the Truck series, but is still seeking his first Xfinity victory.

Wallace is in a position to help others after being part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs.

But even with his hectic racing schedule ramping up as he looks for someone to further sponsor his own racing dreams, Wallace has more plans to help others. He’s “80 percent” of the way to establishing his own foundation, the “Live to be Different Foundation.”

“Every driver has their own organization, right?” Wallace joked. “For me, it’s a little bit different. Growing up in a sport where it took me a little bit to be accepted, one, of age and then one of skin color, that’s why it’s called ‘Live to be Different Foundation.’ That’s kind of the gist of it. You’re different, doesn’t matter. You can still do whatever you want, just like I’m doing whatever I want and doing what I love.”

There isn’t yet any specific cause the foundation will support, but Wallace is looking at benefiting the chronically ill and the disadvantaged. Wallace also serves as an ambassador for the cancer awareness program, the Movember Foundation.

“The foundation is created to assist individuals that are striving to do whatever they want, to achieve their goals, no matter their age, skin color, disabilities, anything, you know?” Wallace said. “That also kind of ties back into the scholarship program. They need a little bit of help to get to the next level, the next step.”

Whoever is able to get to the next step will remember help came from a guy named Bubba.

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Preliminary entry lists for Kansas Speedway

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NASCAR’s top two series will be in action this weekend at Kansas Speedway as they hold two different stages of their playoff races.

The Cup Series has its second round elimination race with the Hollywood Casino 400. The Xfinity Series begins its second round with the Kansas Lottery 300 after an off week.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races:

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400

There are 41 cars entered into the race.

StarCom Racing is set to make its debut with Derrike Cope driving the No. 00 Chevrolet. Tony Furr will serve as Cope’s crew chief.

There are four cars without drivers attached to them yet: BK Racing’s No. 23 and No. 83 Toyotas, Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet and Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet.

Gray Gaulding will driving Premium Motorsports’ No. 55 Chevrolet.

Martin Truex Jr. won the last visit to Kansas Speedway in May. He beat Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick after passing Ryan Blaney with 19 laps to go.

Harvick is the defending winner of the playoff race.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300

There are 41 cars entered into the race.

Cup drivers entered into the race include Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.

Christopher Bell will driver the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kyle Busch is the defending winner of this race. He has won the last three Xfinity races at the track.

Click here for the entry list.

Bump & Run: Who makes the cut at Kansas, who doesn’t?

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Which four drivers will fail to advance in the playoffs after Kansas?

Kyle Petty: Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (points deficit too great to make up in one race), Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson (for these two I think it comes down to stage points).

Dale Jarrett: Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson. Even though Kenseth has the capabilities of qualifying well and getting the stage points, they haven’t been able to finish off races. I think Ryan Blaney is fast enough to get stage points and can manage a top-10 finish and keep him ahead of Jimmie Johnson.

Nate Ryan: Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray. I think Blaney and Kenseth have shown the speed to be worthy of advancing, but the consistency has been absent.

Dustin Long: Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray. While Blaney has finished no worse than 11th in the last three 1.5-mile tracks, he’s scored two stage points in those races combined. Doesn’t give much confidence he’ll score enough to stay ahead of those behind him Sunday.

Why do you think or don’t think Kyle Busch will advance?

Kyle Petty: Kyle Busch makes it! Two reasons: 1. He has speed, others that are ahead of him have struggled on 1.5-mile tracks. 2. He can score stage points and ultimately win! He’s proved that all year.

Dale Jarrett: Kyle Busch runs up front all day and might even get somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 stage points and then is going to finish in the top three, if not win the race. I think that is enough to get him in there.

Nate Ryan: I think he could win Kansas, and at the very least, I think he will amass enough stage points to propel him back over the cutoff line.

Dustin Long: Wouldn’t surprise me if he won or scored another top five at Kansas to advance. I think the odds are much greater he advances even with his deficit.

What is the best place for Talladega in regards to the playoffs? Regular-season finale? Beginning of a round? Middle of a round? Last race in a round?

Kyle Petty: I like where it is in the middle of a round as a fan. It can help your driver or at least give you hope your driver can come back from a bad Talladega. As a driver I would want it as the first race in a round. So no matter what happened I had two races to recover. As a fan or driver, I hate it as a cut race because, as we saw Sunday, so much that happened is because of plain old luck, good or bad.

Dale Jarrett: I wish we would pose this to the drivers and see where they might want it. I honestly think it’s in the perfect spot right now. I don’t like the idea of it being the first race in a round. I think there is more attention to it and more pressure put on it by being right there in the middle. I think it gives a driver and a team opportunities to look at that first race, which this year was Charlotte, and try to see about getting something done as Martin Truex Jr. did and not have to worry about the consequences of Talladega. Then it also gives you an opportunity on the back end to see where you are and what you need to do. My crazy self as a fan and a media person would love to see it at some point in time be either one of two things — the final regular-season race or the final race of the season to determine the champion.

Nate Ryan: I think Denny Hamlin and the Drivers Council are correct in moving it to the regular-season finale. That seems the best of all worlds – offering protection for drivers already with victories while providing an opportunity for a long shot hoping to snatch a spot. And for winless drivers trying to earn a berth on points, no one likely would be safe – which also feels right.

Dustin Long: I like where it is, but if people want to move it, make it the opening race of the playoffs when then are 16 playoff contenders. That could enhance the next two races as those with bad finishes at Talladega scramble to make it to the next round.

Martin Truex Jr., Sherry Pollex receive National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award

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Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex have been voted the third quarter winners of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.

The Spirit Award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.

The couple was nominated for their “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign to raise awareness and funds for ovarian and childhood cancer. They received 45 percent of the vote. Also receiving votes were the NASCAR Foundation, Joey Logano and nominated as a group were Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.

In its second year, Truex and Pollex’s campaign included 29 NASCAR drivers participating by using custom teal and gold steering wheels produced by Max Papis Innovations (MPI) and driving gloves. The autographed steering wheels and gloves were auctioned off at the end of September.

Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014 and was in remission by early 2016. But she underwent a procedure for a recurrence last July. Pollex was not present for Truex’s win at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago as she recovered from a chemotherapy session.

Artist Sam Bass and The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America won the Spirit Award earlier this year.

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Landon Cassill, wife Katie welcome baby girl

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Landon Cassill and his wife Katie welcomed their second child Monday night.

Cassill, 28, announced the birth of their daughter, Daphne Plum Mayola Cassill, Tuesday morning on Instagram.

Daphne joins their son, Beckham, who was born in 2015.

“She had a very peaceful first night, but does have the voice to keep us honest,” Cassill said in his Instagram post. “This is the good news we’ve been waiting for!”

The birth of Daphne came the week after Front Row Motorsports announced Cassill will not be returning to drive the No. 34 Ford next season.

MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Amy Earnhardt expecting first child