NASCAR: Bubba Wallace confirmed for Roush Fenway XFINITY program

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Roush Fenway Racing has signed Darrell “Bubba” Wallace for 2015.

The talented up-and-coming NASCAR driver moves into the XFINITY Series after spending the last couple years in the Camping World Truck Series, and after he was released from his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing.

This past season, he finished third in the points with four wins, but faced an uncertain future with JGR having a lack of sponsorship to confirm him as a part of their program for 2015.

He’ll now join a four-car lineup with Chris Buescher, Ryan Reed and new recruit Elliott Sadler. No mention was made of this being a full season, although that will be the goal.

Wallace will be in Trevor Bayne’s No. 6 car, with sponsorship and further crew personnel to be announced at a later date.

“I’ve had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have,” Wallace said, via NASCAR.com. “When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest (XFINITY) team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team’s legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers.”

It’s a good move for both Wallace and RFR going forward, looking longer-term.

Many consider Wallace one of NASCAR’s top prospects, and with Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. both unproven over a full-time Cup season, and Greg Biffle failing to post a significant championship challenge in recent years, RFR needs a potential star in its base.

It remains to be seen whether Wallace will make any Cup starts this upcoming season. But his ETA at the Cup level is probably sooner now with RFR than with JGR, given JGR’s current Cup lineup of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and new recruit Carl Edwards.

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.