AVONDALE, Ariz. – Darrell Wallace Jr., who all but needed to win to advance to the championship round, crashed after contact with title contender Blake Koch on Lap 148 of Saturday night’s Xfinity race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Wallace was behind Koch, who was running sixth. Wallace went under Koch but Koch darted to the left. They made contact, turning Wallace into the inside wall on the frontstretch. He slammed into the SAFER barrier and bounced back into the middle of the track. Jeremy Clements, Corey LaJoie and Garrett Smithley made contact trying to avoid Wallace’s car.
“That was the most fun I’ve had,” said an emotional Wallace, heartbroken over the death of his grandmother this week. “Just circumstances took us out. Thanks Granny I love you.
“Just Granny out there doing her thing. I know she was over there in the passenger side riding along. I tried to tell her the 11 was coming down but she wanted to take it. It is just unfortunate. My team gave me a great race car, the best Mustang we have had all year long and we were making the most of it.
“That was one of my best restarts all year. It was just taken away from us. The biggest picture is that I hope Granny had fun because I sure as hell did. We will go on to Homestead. We have whupped ass there before and we will go do it again.”
Koch said on the radio to his crew: “I didn’t know (Wallace) was there. Tell him that.”
The incident came shortly after Brendan Gaughan, who all but needed to win to advance, crashed.