Racing at Talladega Superspeedway is a completely different experience than most drivers have ever gone through before in their careers.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace will find out what kind of beast and monster Talladega can be when he competes in his first-ever NASCAR Nationwide Series start there in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 race.
Wallace, who is in his second full season in the Camping World Truck Series (currently ranked eighth after two races), will be making his fifth career NNS start and first in 2014.
In four NNS starts last season, the 20-year-old Wallace recorded three top-10 finishes and one pole (Dover). His worst finish was only 12th (also at Dover).
Wallace will be driving the Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry in Saturday’s race.
“We’re excited to be able to provide this opportunity for Darrell in Talladega,” JGR president J.D. Gibbs said in a team media release. “He has been doing a great job in the Truck series with his KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) team and we want to make sure he continues to gain experience in our Nationwide Series cars as well.”
Wallace became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national event in nearly 50 years when he captured last fall’s truck race at Martinsville.
“It’s good to be back behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series,” Wallace said. “I’m excited to work with (crew chief) Kevin Kidd and all the guys on this Nationwide Series team.
“I know they have a good Toyota Camry and Matt (Kenseth) has been running it all season long and posted good finishes. Hopefully, we can go out there, stay out of harm’s way and add to that by posting a good, strong finish at Talladega.”
While it will be Wallace’s first start in a Nationwide car at ‘Dega, he does have one other start at NASCAR’s largest oval (at 2.66-miles around), last fall in the truck series race there.
He started 10th and appeared headed towards a top-10 finish when he was involved in a last-lap wreck coming out of turn 4 and ultimately finished 17th.
Ironically enough, Wallace won the following week at Martinsville.
If he does well in the NNS race at ‘Dega, could lightning strike twice for him in next week’s truck race at Kansas Speedway?
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