NASCAR AMERICA: After release from JGR, what’s next for Bubba Wallace? (VIDEO)

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After a four-win season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. was expected to take the next step into the NASCAR XFINITY Series for 2015.

But when Joe Gibbs Racing was unable to find a sponsor to help him take that step, Wallace asked for and was granted his release.

Now, one of NASCAR’s better prospects could be heading to Roush Fenway Racing’s XFINITY Series operation, which is already set to run three cars in 2015 for Chris Buescher, Ryan Reed, and the incoming Elliott Sadler.

It can be strongly argued that Wallace, who in 2013 became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR premier series race in half a century, has done all he can in the Trucks.

And as NASCAR AMERICA’s Parker Kligerman noted in today’s episode, Roush Fenway’s ability to field XFINITY cars for young drivers without major sponsorship could help Wallace keep pushing toward the eventual goal of racing in the top-tier Sprint Cup Series.

For more of Kligerman’s thoughts, check out the clip above.

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994