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Bubba Wallace roars to win in first Truck race since 2014 at Michigan

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Making his first start in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race since 2014, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. didn’t forget how to win.

Wallace held off late charges by Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch to win Saturday’s LTI Printing 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

Whether Saturday’s win will bring Wallace a regular ride in any of NASCAR’s three series remains to be seen.

He lost his Xfinity Series ride earlier this year after 12 races due to lack of sponsorship, then filled in for Aric Almirola in four Cup races while Almirola healed from crash injuries, and had not raced since mid-July until Saturday’s event.

MORE: Results from Saturday’s Truck race at Michigan

MORE: Christopher Bell remains first in Truck Series after Michigan

Wallace earned five wins in 44 Truck races in 2013 and 2014 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Saturday’s win was his second consecutive Truck win, as he won the season finale in 2014.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been in victory lane,” Wallace told Fox Sports 1. “This is a sweet victory, so I’ll take it and cherish it, for sure.”

Wallace is the seventh different driver to compete in the Matthew Miller-owned No. 99 MDM Motorsports Chevrolet this season. He took the lead for the first time in the race with 11 laps to go and held on to take the checkered flag in the 100-lap event.

Wallace had to bounce back from a penalty on Lap 53 when a crewman prematurely jumped off the wall before a pit stop.

Bell finished second. He was followed by Busch, Ryan Truex and Cindric.

“That was a lot of fun,” Bell said. “That’s awesome for Bubba, man. It’s cool to see him come back and win like that.”

STAGE WINNERS: Kyle Busch won both Stage 1 and Stage 2. This marks the fourth time this season that Busch has swept the first two stages in a race. He has nine stage wins this year.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric appeared as if he would win, but when he and Christopher Bell got side-by-side late in the race, Darrell Wallace Jr. went low to pass both and held on for victory.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Both John Hunter Nemechek (finished 29th) and Cody Coughlin (21st) were involved in wrecks that ended their days. … Johnny Sauter also had a rough day, finishing an uncharacteristic 18th.

NOTABLE: NASCAR announced that Grant Enfinger‘s truck failed heights after the race. Enfinger finished eighth.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “At least Bubba doesn’t take a playoff spot away.” – Fifth-place finisher Austin Cindric, who is still hoping to make the Truck playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: Teams race Wednesday, August 16, in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Wallace was congratulated by a number of fellow drivers and fans on social media after the race:

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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.