Wallace Jr. wins Mudsummer Classic at Eldora

 

The Sports Network

Rossburg, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Darrell Wallace Jr. put on a dominating performance but had to hold off Kyle Larson in a hard-fought battle during the closing laps to win Wednesday night's Mudsummer Classic Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.

Wallace, who started sixth, led 97 of 150 laps around this half-mile dirt track. Larson grabbed the top spot from Wallace just before the seventh and final caution with 23 laps remaining.

After the last restart with 18 laps to go, Wallace quickly pulled ahead of Larson to take the lead for good. While attempting to catch Wallace, Larson repeatedly hit the wall and sustained significant damage to the right-front of his No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet.

Larson, a rookie in the Sprint Cup Series this year, continued to challenge Wallace for the lead until he made contact with the wall for the final time with two laps left, ending his race.

Wallace, who drives the No. 54 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, claimed his second victory this season and the third of his Truck Series career. His first win in 2014 came last month at Gateway Motorsports Park.

"That's so cool, on dirt at Eldora," Wallace said of his victory in the second running of the Mudsummer Classic. "Really? Eldora? It's awesome here. The cool thing about it is that I came into this kind of skeptical. I thought we would finish in the top-five."

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.

Kyle Busch Motorsports has now won eight of the first 10 truck events this season, and Toyota extended its winning streak in the series to 12 races.

"I was worried about the Toyota streak," Wallace said. "It's still alive. So now we go to Pocono [Aug. 2 truck race], on an asphalt racetrack, and keep that streak going."

Larson wound up finishing 26th.

"I hit the wall too many times," Larson said. "It sucks to lose it that way. Darrell did a really good job. He was fast all day, and he ran close to the wall the whole time and never really hit it."

Larson's accident allowed Ron Hornaday Jr. to take second. Hornaday crossed the finish line 5.5 seconds behind Wallace.

Ryan Blaney placed third, followed by Ken Schrader and Ty Dillon.

John Hunter Nemechek, Jeb Burton, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon, who won the inaugural Mudsummer Classic here last year, completed the top-10.

Earlier in the day, Erik Jones, the driver of the No. 51 Toyota for KBM and Wallace's teammate, won his first career pole in the series. Jones led the first 24 laps before he suffered a flat right-rear tire and spun around, forcing the first caution. He had more tire issues later in the race and ended up finishing six laps behind in 29th.

Blaney moved atop the point standings, while Crafton, the defending series champion, fell four points behind. Crafton entered this race with the lead in the standings.

Sauter trails by 10 points, while Hornaday is 19 behind. German Quiroga is fifth in points (-26).

With the win, Wallace moved up to sixth in the rankings. He is 28 points behind Blaney.

Read more Craftsman Truck stories from the Miami Herald

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