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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Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.

 

Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?

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Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.