Darrell Wallace Jr. faints after finishing 26th in NASCAR Cup debut

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Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. marked his NASCAR Cup debut, driving the iconic No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, in a rather unique way.

He fainted.

Wallace finished 26th in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway, filling in for the injured Aric Almirola. Wallace will drive until Almirola returns from the compression fracture he suffered May 13 at Kansas Speedway. At the time, Almirola’s timetable for a return was listed as two to three months.

Shortly after Wallace climbed out of his car Sunday and in the middle of a media interview, he passed out. He went to victory lane to congratulate close friend Ryan Blaney on his win.

“I was looking at something, set to go to victory lane,” Wallace said. “This is the third time this is happened. I get so pissed off at myself that I just pass out. … Yeah, I’m good.”

All things considered, it was a typical rookie debut. Wallace did the best he could, but there were some things he has to work on.

About 25 laps into the race, Wallace pitted, only to receive a pair of penalties.

First, he came onto pit road and drove through pit road sections 1, 2, 4 and 7, earning a pass-through penalty.

Then, he sped on sections 2 and 4, earning a stop-and-go penalty.

“First trip down pit road cost us and put us behind the eight ball the rest of the day,” Wallace said. “I like stage racing, but it just didn’t work out for us.

“I was really conservative today. A lot of people said it’s not my job to set the world on fire or do everything under the sun. My job was to do as good as we could and come out with a clean race car.”

He was also caught speeding later for three such penalties in the 160-lap event.

Wallace then ran a relatively quiet rest of the race, with the exception of banging fenders with Matt DiBenedetto with 12 laps to go.

But there’s no question Wallace, who finished one lap down, wanted more from his finish.

“If we could have got back on the lead lap, I definitely think we had a top-20 car,” he said. “If I had finished 26th without any mistakes, it would have been pretty embarrassing on my part.”

When he took the green flag for his first Cup race, it was somewhat of a surreal experience, Wallace said.

“Climbing in that thing, I thought I handled my emotions very well,” he said. “Green flag went well and then we were off.

“We settled in, got a pit stop and got her right. I didn’t want to come down pit road all day. If I could have stayed out all day, I would have.”

He even took a slight humorous dig at former Truck series owner Kyle Busch in his post-race interview: “I like to win. I can drop the mic and pick my nose, but I won’t do that.”

Still, even with the mistakes he made, Wallace was fairly happy with his debut.

“I knew jumping into this it wouldn’t be easy,” he said. “These guys are good, they’re here for a reason. There’s no more climbing. I’ve been in the ladder runs the last couple years. There’s no higher to go.”

Wallace added “I was driving my butt off. This is a first step, we ran a good, clean race, that’s all you can ask. Didn’t wreck the car. That’s good.

“It was a really cool, really fun day. This was a bad-ass day. … We’ll just get better.”

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Kyle Busch Motorsports announces 2020 driver, crew chief lineup

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Kyle Busch Motorsports announced its driver-crew chief roster for the 2020 Gander Outdoors Truck Series season on Wednesday. It includes the addition of veteran Danny Stockman.

Stockman will be in charge of the No. 51 Toyota, which will be driven by Kyle Busch, Chandler Smith and more drivers to be announced at a later date.

Stockman was a long-time crew chief at Richard Childress Racing, most recently working with Austin Dillon in the Cup Series this season. He was Dillon’s crew chief when he won his titles in the Truck Series (2011) and Xfinity Series (2013).

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle will be paired with Christian Eckes on the No. 18 Toyota. Fugle worked on the No. 51 this year as it won six races, including all of Busch’s five wins and Greg Biffle‘s victory. Fugle has led KBM teams to five owner titles (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019) and two driver titles (2015 and 2017).

Mike Hillman Jr. will be the crew chief for Raphael Lessard‘s rookie season in the No. 4 Toyota. Hillman has two Truck Series titles, including Toyota’s first in 2006 with Todd Bodine.


DGR-Crosley switches from Toyota to Ford beginning in 2020

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Ford Performance is strengthening its driver development program by joining forces with DGR-Crosley, which announced its move from Toyota to Ford Wednesday.

The multi-year agreement will see team co-owner David Gilliland, a former Cup Series driver, lead the team’s driver development program as it field entries in late models, the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

“We’re very excited to have DGR-Crosley come to Ford as part of our long-term efforts to develop drivers for NASCAR,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports in a press release. “We have just scratched the surface of what is possible in developing the next generation of Ford drivers with people like Chase Briscoe, and we believe a coordinated effort with a team like DGR-Crosley will help move that process forward successfully.

“David Gilliland was a trusted and valued Ford driver in NASCAR for many years, and we look forward to renewing that relationship with him in this new effort.”

Said Gilliland: “I’m super excited about the partnership with Ford and how things are lining up for 2020. I spent a lot of time racing Fords throughout my career, and it’s really special to now be able to bring them into our race shop. A lot of time and consideration was spent on this decision, and internally we know that this is the move that we needed to make in order to advance our program to the top level. We have a great group of hard-working, talented people at DGR-Crosley, and with Ford coming on board, our future is really bright. We’re excited for all the things ahead.”

DGR-Crosley will announce its driver lineup at a later date.

The team first entered the Truck Series in 2018. Tyler Ankrum won its first race this year at Kentucky Speedway, qualifying for the playoffs in the process.

It fielded a team record five entries in the playoff race at ISM Raceway.

Brennan Poole to compete full-time for Premium Motorsports in Cup Series

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Former Xfinity Series driver Brennan Poole will compete full-time in the Cup Series in 2020 with Premium Motorsports, Poole announced Wednesday on social media.

Poole, 28, will drive the No. 15 Chevrolet and would make his Cup debut in the Daytona 500.

He joins a rookie class that includes Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer.

“I’ve been working towards this moment since I was 5 and feel blessed to have the caliber of people surrounding me that I have in this next chapter of my racing career,” Poole said in a press release. “I look forward to the opportunity to showcase our sponsor partners, both new and existing, who are supporting me at the highest level of NASCAR competition.”

Poole takes over the car that was driven by Ross Chastain in a majority of his Cup starts in 2019.

A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Poole drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series from 2016-17. His best finish was second in the 2017 race at Kentucky Speedway.

He made 13 starts in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2019, driving for On Point Motorsports. His best result was second in the May race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I’m very happy to welcome Brennan and his group to the Premium Motorsports family,” team owner Jay Robinson said in the press release. “Brennan is a very talented and dedicated young man, I believe he has a very bright future in the NASCAR Cup Series.”

Bojangles’ ends sponsorship of Southern 500

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The fast food chain Bojangles’ will no longer sponsor the Southern 500.

Bojangles’ has sponsored the event at Darlington Raceway since 2012.

Since 2015, the Southern 500 has been the site of NASCAR’s Throwback Weekend, with Cup and Xfinity Series teams fielding retro paint schemes celebrating the sport’s history.


“We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with Bojangles’ since 2012 and we look forward to their continued involvement in NASCAR for many years to come,” track president Kerry Tharp said in a statement. “Like Darlington, they are truly an authentic Southern brand.”

A logo for the race on Darlington’s website does not include a sponsor.

“Bojangles’ has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with the team at Darlington Raceway,” Bojangles’ said in a statement provided to NBC’s Myrtle Beach-affiliate WMBF. “While we will no longer be the title sponsor for the Southern 500, NASCAR remains an important part of our sports marketing strategy, and we look forward to announcing our plans for 2020 in the near future.”

The 2020 Southern 500 is scheduled for Sept. 6 on NBCSN.