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Pit crew member for Darrell Wallace Jr. injured at Las Vegas


Josh Frankos, front tire changer of the No. 43 driven by Darrell Wallace Jr., suffered a hand injury Sunday morning while preparing for the Cup race, Richard Petty Motorsports announced.

The team stated that Frankos was transported to a local medical center.

Michael Hubert will replace Frankos on pit road for today’s race.

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Final episodes of Darrell Wallace Jr.’s Facebook series premiere Thursday

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Following his historic showing in the 60th Daytona 500 on Sunday, fans will get to relive Darrell Wallace Jr.‘s first start in the “Great American Race” through his Facebook Watch docu-series.

The final two installments of the eight-part series, which documents Wallace’s journey to his rookie season in Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 car, will debut tomorrow at noon ET on Facebook.

MORE: Darrell Wallace Jr. emotional following Daytona 500

MORE: Wallace explains heated exchange with Denny Hamlin

Wallace, 24, became the first African-American driver to compete in the Daytona 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. He finished second to Austin Dillon.

The series, which premiered last week, is produced by NASCAR productions.

Here’s the release about final two episodes from NASCAR:

A dramatic, runner-up finish in the 2018 Daytona 500 by the first full-time African-American driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 1971 will be chronicled in the final two episodes of “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace,” the new docu-series on Facebook Watch.

The final episodes in the original series will post at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 22, and can be viewed by following the Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace show page. The first six episodes, which premiered last week, are available now on demand.

In his first start in the Great American Race, Wallace edged out 2016 DAYTONA 500 champion Denny Hamlin to take second place in the sport’s most prestigious event, which was won by driver Austin Dillon. The result marks the best-ever finish by an African-American driver in the DAYTONA 500.

Both the lead-up to Wallace’s debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including a third-place finish in his Can-Am Duel qualifying race, and his emotional press conference after the DAYTONA 500 will be featured in the series’ final episodes on Facebook Watch.

“The whole experience of my first DAYTONA 500 was amazing,” said Wallace. “Through Facebook Watch, fans are going to be able to see what I went through leading into Sunday’s race and after it. It’s really cool to be able to share those moments and emotion with all our fans. Everyone needs to check it out.”

The first six episodes of “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace,” produced by NASCAR Productions, follow Wallace’s road to Daytona International Speedway – from his earliest racing days to his debut as the new full-time driver of the No. 43 Click n’ Close Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The series follows Wallace in the months and weeks leading up to the 2018 season, including encounters with team owner and NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty, Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk and close friend and fellow NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney.

In the final episodes, the cameras capture Wallace as the clock ticks down to the biggest race of his life, including a surprise, pre-race phone call from pro baseball legend and fellow Alabama native Hank Aaron.

Following the dramatic final lap and Wallace’s second-place finish, the series documents a teary-eyed reunion between the driver and his mother as she interrupts his press conference to congratulate him.

“For years to come, fans will remember Bubba Wallace’s performance in the 60th running of the DAYTONA 500,” said Evan Parker, NASCAR managing director, content strategy. “On Facebook Watch, we’re giving fans unfiltered access to a NASCAR star in the making – straight from the perspective of Bubba himself.”

Prior to graduating to NASCAR’s top series, Wallace competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In October 2013, he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway to become the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race since NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott in 1963.

In 2012, Wallace became the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity development program to compete in a NASCAR national series race. Since then, he’s won six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

Facebook Watch is a video platform created to bring episodic content, community and conversation together on Facebook. The platform is home to a wide variety of sports shows, including reality, documentary and live sports.

Darrell Wallace Jr. picks up sponsor for Atlanta Cup race

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Darrell Wallace Jr. followed up the biggest day of his racing career with a new sponsor announcement.

A day after finishing second in the Daytona 500, it was announced that Wallace and his No. 43 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Driving 101 in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Driving 101 operates the NASCAR Racing Experience, Richard Petty Driving Experience and Mario Andretti Racing Experience.

The NASCAR Racing Experience will be on the hood of Wallace’s car.

MORE: Keeping up with Richard Petty after Darrell Wallace’s historic Daytona 500

The NASCAR Racing Experience is an experiential racing company offering realistic racing programs to motorsports fans at 19 tracks across the United States. The Mario Andretti Racing Experience is held at 15 tracks.

“It’s great to see partners coming on board to support us,” Wallace said in a press release. “I’m all about getting fans involved in racing, and nobody does that better than the NASCAR Racing Experience. They allow fans to race the cars we drive. It’s the best way to get on the same track and in the same cars we race. That’s really cool and I’m pumped they are on our car this weekend.”

Wallace is the first full-time African-American driver in the Cup Series since Wendell Scott in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He became the first to compete in the Daytona 500 since Scott in 1969.

His finish Sunday came in just his fifth Cup start.

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Keeping pace with ‘The King’? Hard to do after second at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For perhaps the first time in NASCAR history, “The King” wasn’t signing autographs.

“No, ain’t got time now buddy,” Richard Petty, smiling broadly but striding briskly below his famous black cowboy hat, said to a fan holding up a sharpie and program as he entered the pit lane at Daytona International Speedway, urgently searching for his famous No. 43 Chevrolet.

The 80-year-old’s purposeful pace finally slowed as he reached crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, who informed Petty why his car was nowhere to be found – because driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace was involved in a postrace crash with Denny Hamlin.

“Did we beat him?” Petty asked.

“Yeah, we beat him,” Blickensderfer said.

Petty smiled while dropping his shades off his nose, turned on his heels and made a beeline back down the pit lane and into the garage, where he waved to throngs of fans cheering from the Fan Deck above while turning down three more autograph-seekers.

He paused briefly to escape the path of a wrecker towing the battered No. 43 back to the hauler and then tore off again for the care center.

Most you’ve walked in a while, King? “You got that! Damn right.”

He disappeared inside the care center and then emerged with Wallace, whom he gave a bear hug. He chatted briefly with family members and kept smiling while staring up at the scoring pylon before wandering over to some waiting reporters with a playfully gruff, “What do you want?”

Not a bad start to the season, huh?

“Almost,” Petty said. “(Wallace) was laying in there, and they was checking his blood pressure, and I walked in and said, ‘What was the last thing I told you?’ ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘Don’t tear up my car.’ He just went out. I think his blood pressure went to 330!

“I wasn’t going to blame him. That’s for dang sure.”

Wallace, who placed a career-best second as the highest-finishing African-American in the 60-year history of the Daytona 500, later recounted his version of events.

“My heart is still pumping over that, sitting on the cot in the infield care center,” Wallace said. “(Petty) walks in livid, and he first thing he said, what’s the first thing I told you, with a very stern attitude and look, and I’m like, ‘Ummmm,’ and he says, ‘I told you not to wreck the car,’ and I was like, ‘I didn’t do it.’  So we shared a good laugh, and he come in and gave me a big hug after that.

“To see the smile on his face, I think you had to be there to experience that moment.”

The smile never left Petty’s face, which lit up when asked to describe Wallace’s performance.

“They’d make pit stops because they was adjusting the car, and he’d run himself back up to sixth, seventh,” Petty said. “He probably passed more cars than anybody. But he was in the race all day long. That was good. It was a good day for us.”

And a good day for NASCAR’s old guard. Petty’s eyes lit up when he gestured at the two numbers, 3 and 43, atop the infield scoring pylon. During the offseason, Richard Petty Motorsports relocated to Welcome, N.C., in a tight-knit alliance with Richard Childress Racing, and Daytona indicated the partnership already was working with Wallace delivering a crucial shove that carried Austin Dillon to an historic victory in the No. 3.

“Three and 43, been a long time since we’ve seen them at the top of the board, ain’t it,” Petty said. “That’s great. Was a good start for Chevrolet and good start with us with them. And good deal for Childress, because I can tell him the reason he won, we pushed him to it!”

It also could be a critical shove for a team that is hunting for sponsorship. Wallace scored RPM’s best finish since Aric Almirola’s July 2014 victory at Daytona.

“This shouldn’t hurt anything,” Petty said. “If we could have won the race, it would have been better, but second is the best thing besides winning. He was in the race all day long. That made us feel good.”

The seven-time champion seems to be in great spirits ever since hiring the 24-year-old Wallace, who said he served as Petty’s “Uber driver” for a Saturday night dinner.

“We were just making small talk, no cameras there,” Wallace said. “He’s been here since Day 1 running on the beaches, and ever since this was built, and just hearing all that just was like, ‘Wow.’ First of all, I wasn’t even born yet, wasn’t even a thought yet.  My parents were just born.  Just kind of showing his age there, and just hearing what he had to talk about.”

After Wallace excelled in a four-race audition substituting for an injured Almirola last season, RPM hired him last November. Petty has said Wallace puts the team in step with the new generation of fresh faces in Cup this season.

Does he also provide the car owner with extra energy?

“I’m trying to give him energy,” Petty said. “I’ve got plenty!”

Someone told him he had just proved that on his dash through the pits.

“Nobody could keep up,” he said with a wink.

Even in a season without major changes, there’s much new in NASCAR

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Stage racing returns after its debut last year, but there are many changes for the 2018 NASCAR season. With cars on track Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, here’s a look at some of the notable changes this year:


The rookie class features new names in iconic numbers. William Byron takes over the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports, while Darrell Wallace Jr. will drive the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Among those in new rides this year include Aric Almirola taking over the ride Danica Patrick had in the No. 10 at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Ryan Blaney moves to the No. 12 at Team Penske.

Paul Menard replaces Blaney in the No. 21 for the Wood Brothers.

Kasey Kahne joins Leavine Family Racing in the No. 95, taking over for Michael McDowell, who moved to Front Row Motorsports to take over the No. 34 car.

Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports.

Erik Jones joins Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 20 car.

Chase Elliott is back at Hendrick Motorsports but this year he’ll drive the No. 9 car.


MORE: 2018 NASCAR schedules for Cup, Xfinity & Camping World Truck Series

The regular season ends at Indianapolis, taking the spot previously held by Richmond.

The playoffs will have a different look. They open Sept. 16 in Las Vegas before heading to Richmond the following weekend. It marks the first time either track has been in NASCAR’s postseason. The first round ends at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the debut of its roval, which combines the track’s infield road course and high-speed oval.

Dover remains in the playoffs but moves out of the first round and will host the opening race of the second round.

Other changes include Richmond’s spring race returning to Saturday night and Dover’s spring event moves to the first weekend in May.


Richard Petty Motorsports has switched from Ford to Chevrolet and moved into a shop on the Richard Childress Racing campus. RPM also has an alliance with RCR.

Richard Childress Racing has cut from three to two teams and leased a charter to StarCom Racing, which is set for its first full-time season.

Team Penske adds a third Cup car to accommodate the addition of Ryan Blaney.

Rick Ware Racing will race the full schedule after leasing a charter from Richard Petty Motorsports.

Furniture Row Racing goes back to a one-car team this year after shutting its No. 77 operation and selling its charter to JTG Daugherty for that team’s No. 37 car.


MORE: An inside look at how the Hawkeye Inspection process works

NASCAR will debut a new inspection system this season. It’s unofficial name is the Hawkeye System, but NASCAR plans on announcing a name for it at a later date. The system will allow NASCAR greater scrutinize the entire car and also streamline the process. Some Ford drivers are hoping the new system keeps the manufacturers close since Ford has the oldest body compared to Toyota and Chevrolet.

Cup, Xfinity and Truck teams will be restricted to no more than five people over the wall to service the vehicle on a pit stop, eliminating one position.

Should a team change an engine in its primary car during Daytona Speedweeks for something other than crash damage, the team will be forced to start at the rear of their qualifying race (if the change takes place before then), start at the rear for the Daytona 500 and start at the rear of the field for the next race the car is entered.

No longer will a driver have to sit in their car on pit road while serving a timed penalty during a practice session. Those penalties will be served in the garage.

The phrase “encumbered” is a thing of the past, but the penalty remains.

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