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Darrell Wallace Jr. not sitting still even without a ride

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Darrell Wallace Jr. said he’s focused on finding a full-time ride for next season after his Xfinity team ceased operations because of lack of sponsorship in June.

“We’re already on the back half of the second half of the season,’’ Wallace told NBC Sports on Friday. “We have to weigh all our options and see what becomes available and make sure we are not taking too big of a step backwards if it is a step backwards but also keeping us relevant at the same time.

“The step back for me is looking at the quality of the opportunity and the performance side of it. I don’t think you can really take a step back by jumping down a series. Kyle Busch does that every weekend when he wants to race in Xfinity in Truck. We’re trying to weigh out all of our options.’’

Wallace filled in for Aric Almirola in the Cup series but that went away when Almirola returned from his back injury suffered in May at Kansas Speedway. Wallace has not raced since placing 11th at Kentucky last month. 

While he looks for a ride, Wallace will spend Saturday in Chicago as part of “A Good Day for Play.’’ The event, sponsored by Nickelodeon, will feature carnival rides and games, NASCAR cars and more to promote the Sept. 17 Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway – the opening race of the Cup playoffs. Wallace will be a judge as Chicago-based artists compete to create custom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles murals. The winner will have the opportunity to design the trophy for the Chicago Cup race.

Wallace has been involved in various programs with Nickelodeon in recent years. Whether that affiliation helps land sponsorship from the company for a ride at Chicago he wasn’t sure but added “we’ll keep our fingers crossed and see what comes about.’’

Anthony DiCosmo, senior vice president of sports marketing and content development at Nickelodeon, is a Wallace fan.

“When I was introduced to him, I was just like, ‘Got to figure out how to work with this guy,’ ‘’ DiCosmo said told NBC Sports. “Unfortunately, he’s not going to be in a car right now, but fortunately he’s available to represent the sport in an event that we’re doing in the community that I think is so important. Diversity is a huge opportunity.

“Being able to have Bubba come down, be an ambassador, he’s young, he’s a got a great social media following, he’s very charismatic. A lot of these kids that are going to be at this event are kids that look like him … and probably don’t even realize that there are drivers that look like them.’’

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Points leader Elliott Sadler clinches Xfinity playoff spot after finishing third at Bristol

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Even though he hasn’t won this year, Elliott Sadler earned himself a spot in the Xfinity Series playoffs Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Sadler is the fourth driver to qualify for the playoffs. He joins Ryan Reed, William Byron and Justin Allgaier, who clinched spots through race wins.

The JR Motorsports driver and the series points leader finished third in the Food City 300 for his ninth top five of the year.

“Man, we had a great car,” Sadler told NBCSN. “I hit the wall with like 50 to go. Then I threw my water bottle out and it got in the jack man’s way, messed us up. We’re peaking at the right time.”

Sadler has led the Xfinity Series point standings for the last 10 races and following 20 of the 22 races this year.

Following Sadler in the top five is William Byron (-110), Allgaier (-136), Brennan Poole (-186) and Daniel Hemric (-206).

Brendan Gaughan is on the playoff bubble. He is 43 points above the cutoff line. Ross Chastain is 13th on the playoff grid.

Click here for the point standings.

Results, stats for the Xfinity Series race at Bristol

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Kyle Busch won the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his fifth Xfinity Series win of the year.

He led 186 laps and swept all three stages.

Completing the top five were Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for full results.

Kyle Busch wins Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Kyle Busch once again dominated a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning Friday night’s Food City 300.

Busch led 186 laps on the way to the win, his fifth Xfinity Series victory of the season.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver fended off the field in a nine-lap shootout following a late caution.

The top five was completed by Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier.

Busch moved one step closer to a sweep of the race week. He won Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race. If he wins Saturday’s Cup race, it will be the second time he’s swept all three Bristol races after doing it in 2010.

Just like Wednesday, Busch fought through the field after a mid-race speeding penalty to earn the win.

“At least I didn’t have to come through (the field) in the last stage because everybody was pretty fast there tonight in the last stage,” Busch said. “I don’t know if I would have been able to make it all the way back up through there. Suárez gave us a heck of a run there. I was trying to push hard and he was closing in on us a little bit there before that last caution came out. Once that caution came out everything cooled down and my car wasn’t even close to what it was before, so I don’t know how I held on to it. The car was just so sideways.”

The win is Busch’s 91st in the Xfinity Series.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Allgaier led twice for 75 laps and earned his sixth top five of the season … Sadler led once for 15 laps and clinched a spot in the playoffs … Ty Dillon earned his second top five of the season and beset finish in 19 starts … Joey Logano bounced back from a flat tire and going to two laps down to finish ninth.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Ryan Reed and Aric Almirola wrecked on Lap 25 after they pinched Spencer Gallagher on the backstretch. Almirola finished 38th. … Reed caused the following caution after damage from the previous wreck cut a tire, sending him into the wall. Reed finished 37th … Brendan Gaughan had one unscheduled pit stop for a tire rub. He was then involved in a crash with 15 to go after being tagged by Jeb Burton, who had lost a tire. He finished 30th … William Byron lost a tire with less than 10 to go and had to pit. He finished 22nd.

NOTABLE: With his win, Busch is nine wins away from reaching 100 Xfinity wins. Busch has said he’ll retire from Xfinity competition once he reaches 100 … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th in his first Xfinity start of the year.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Two weeks in a row. I know he doesn’t have a lot of race and I like him a lot normally, but right now I’m going to knock the hell out of him. The first time he gave me a flat and the second time he says he blew a tire. If you know you’ve got a tire going then don’t drive underneath somebody. The last couple of weeks I’ve been driven with no respect. We put ourselves back in a decent spot and we’re going to go to Road America and win that sucker.” – Brendan Gaughan after his late wreck with Jeb Burton.

NEXT: Johnsonville 180 at Road America at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 27 on NBC.

Starting lineup for Cup night race at Bristol

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Erik Jones and Kyle Larson will start on the front row of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC).

Jones starts from his first Cup pole.

Completing the top five are Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth.

Click here for the starting lineup.