Wallace holds off Quiroga for truck win at Gateway


The Sports Network

Madison, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Darrell Wallace Jr. won a Camping World Truck Series race for the second time in his career after passing German Quiroga for the lead with three laps to go in Saturday night's 200-mile race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Quiroga grabbed the lead with seven laps remaining when he bumped Erik Jones from behind and spun him out. Jones then hit the inside retaining wall in turn 3, which forced the seventh and final caution and therefore set up the three- lap shootout to the finish. After the last restart, Wallace pulled ahead of Quiroga on the backstretch to grab the top spot for good. Wallace beat him to the finish line by 0.3 seconds for the victory.

"It was wild," said Wallace, who led a race-high 85 laps, en route to his second truck win in his 29th career start. "It was such a bummer for Erik. I thought it was out of our hands there until that caution with him. Erik and I were so fast."

Wallace, who drives the No. 54 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, led the first 62 laps before he had a mishap on pit road during a round of stops under green. Wallace tried to drive away before his left-rear tire was completely on his truck. It created a lengthy stop for the 20-year-old driver from Mobile, Alabama, as he dropped to 12th in the field.

"We got into a little trouble on the first pit stop, but a little adversity never hurts anybody, and we came through," he said.

Last October at Martinsville Speedway, Wallace became the second African- American driver to win a NASCAR national touring series race. Wendell Scott was the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national event, doing so in December 1963 at Jacksonville (Florida) Speedway Park. Scott was recently elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Quiroga's second-place run marked his career-best finish in the Truck Series.

"I knew we had a shot for the lead, but [Jones] started getting loose and drove in really deep into [turn] 1," Quiroga said. "He was slowing a lot on the exit, and I just kept on going. I tried to move a little bit to the left and give him enough room, but he was already sideways. It's unfortunate."

Jones, who is Wallace's teammate at KBM, wound up placing 23rd. Members of his pit crew confronted Quiroga's team on pit road shortly after the accident, but NASCAR officials intervened to prevent any altercations.

"I guess we just got dumped again," Jones said. "I don't know what to do about that. I felt like it was our race. We had a great truck."

Timothy Peters finished third, followed by Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Cole Custer, the pole sitter.

Earlier in the day, Custer set a new NASCAR national series record for youngest pole winner at 16 years, 4 months, 22 days. The previous record holder was Casey Atwood when he won a Nationwide Series pole at the age of 17 years, 6 months, 18 days, doing so in 1998 at Nashville Speedway.

Matt Crafton, the defending series champion, lost control and slammed hard into the turn 4 with 27 laps left. Crafton, who won the most recent race last weekend at Texas, came to Gateway with the points lead, but after finishing 26th, he fell 10 points behind new leader, Sauter, who is his teammate at ThorSport Racing.

Hornaday trails Sauter by 13 points, and Peters is 15 points out of the lead.

This was the first time since 2010 the Truck Series competed at Gateway, a 1.25-mile racetrack located just outside of St. Louis.

Read more Craftsman Truck stories from the Miami Herald

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