Bubba Wallace talks sponsors, chasing first win
Darrell Wallace Jr . didn't spend his XFINITY Series off-weekend lounging on a Caribbean beach or roaming a new city away from the race track. Instead, the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing driver was behind the wheel. Of a go-kart, that is. "Actually got right into (racing) but not with my (No. 6) guys," Wallace said Wednesday at one of NASCAR's offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I went go-kart racing, just try to get back into that and have some fun. Locals whooped me, but still had a lot of fun being able to do that. So, I was still racing, but nothing on the major scale. "(I was) able to learn all the hard (stuff) that went along with go-kart racing. God, it was so tough. I forgot everything that I remember from 13 years ago. Just putting that all together was actually a lot of fun – we had some speed, just the driver forgot how to drive a go-kart," he joked. Lucky for Bubba , this weekend's stage at Daytona International Speedway will be slightly bigger, faster and with a lot more drafting. And while it's not one of Wallace's favorite tracks, it appears he hasn't forgotten how to wheel a superspeedway car: the sophomore driver kicked off the 2016 season with a solid sixth-place result at the Florida track and led multiple laps in the '15 season-opener. Combined with his most recent pair of consecutive top-10 finishes and a runner-up at Dover in May, this weekend's forecast looks more sunny than stormy for the No. 6 driver. "We're just trying to look in-depth at what we're doing for our program and see how we can be better," Wallace said. "We know we're a top-10 race team each and every weekend. We've had some bad luck and some of it's been on us, that we've jeopardized those races and we've ended up outside of that. "But (to have) these last two, now it's starting to get the second half of the season, after that the Chase is starting. So we have to start coming up with a good game plan that we need to bring to each and every track and each and every weekend, so we can unload with a lot of speed and what we need to be competitive. We've been doing that (recently)." They've had additional support off-track as well: Loudmouth Exhaust Systems made its debut on the No. 6 car at Dover International Speedway , where Bubba recorded a career-best second-place result. Since then, the company has graced the car as a primary sponsor for three races and will adorn the No. 6 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway . In a world where sponsorship puts cars on track and lack of it takes names off entry lists, the new partnership has been huge for the 22-year-old racer, who has been transparent about his team's struggles to find primary partners. "Sponsorship is the name of the game," Wallace said. "We're still working hard to find that full-time primary sponsor, but Loudmouth has been a great partner of ours for a number of races now … They've been a huge help to our program to keep us going to the race track each and every weekend. (I'm) trying to do everything I can, as possible, to land that big-time sponsor." Wallace's sponsor schedule has come with some uncertainty -- he said he doesn't even know who is sponsoring his next XFINITY Series race at Kentucky Speedway on July 8. With the goal of landing a full-time sponsor, he's taken a more involved approach than many drivers do, whether it's grabbing lunch with potential partners or meeting with those ready to sign on the dotted line. "I try to be more hands-on, just so I can get a better understanding of what we've got and how I can be better at representing myself for my brand and my team," Wallace said. "I think one thing that's powerful is the drivers gain this personal relationship with the sponsor," he added. “And that's when you see the Lowe's that's with Jimmie Johnson , you see those M&M's with Kyle (Busch) -- they have this great relationship with the driver. There's no middle man and I think that's important." He'll have another chance to impress Loudmouth -- as well as other potential partners that Wallace says are in the works -- this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with Friday's Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Another top 10 would be great, but a win would be even better for the young driver. "(I'm) excited to have them back on the car at Daytona," Wallace said. "Hopefully we can bring the same amount of luck with them and get a win."
Bubba Wallace gives nod to Mark Martin with Darlington scheme
RELATED: Vote now for your favorite Sprint Cup Darlington scheme BUY TICKETS: Darlington Getting in with the throwback theme for this year's events at Darlington Raceway , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Mark Martin and Roush Fenway Racing unveiled Bubba's No. 6 Ford that pays tribute to the longtime RFR driver. Awesome @TooToughToTame throwback scheme @roushfenway is running with @BubbaWallace . Can't wait for this race. pic.twitter.com/waNTw360q5 — Mark Martin (@markmartin) August 16, 2016 . @markmartin my friend you are right! What a badass @FordPerformance scheme my team and i will run @TooToughToTame ! pic.twitter.com/EHH3eJfbL3 — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 16, 2016 Can’t wait to see @bubbawallace in the ’90 @markmartin scheme @TooToughToTame . Let's put it back in victory lane! pic.twitter.com/fFEzXEp6wr — Ford Performance (@FordPerformance) August 16, 2016 Martin ran the iconic No. 6 Folger's Coffee scheme during the 1990 and 1991 seasons, earning a total of four wins in those two years. Wallace Jr. is one of the first XFINITY Series drivers, along with RFR teammate Ryan Reed , to unveil his look for Darlington, but more than two dozen Sprint Cup Series cars have been revealed. Darlington's throwback program launched last year and is expected to continue for the next several seasons. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Blaney, Bubba taste-test gross foods
Darrell Wallace Jr . and YRB (that's Young Ryan Blaney to those who haven't kept up with the high jinks of these pals) are back at it again, folks. Nope, it's not another Snapchat takeover, although we'll take one of those, too. This time, the two NASCAR-drivers-turned-BBFs are playing what they call, "Food Roulette," which includes them taste-testing random foods found in Blaney's house. Accompanied by their friend Carson Apple, Bubba and YRB spin a wheel to determine which random food they must consume. The options include such delicacies as cat food, mayo, ketchup, relish and more. The video concludes with Blaney fitting as many cheese puffs in his mouth as possible -- an astonishing 37. Fair warning: If you're currently consuming food yourself, put it down before watching this. Seems fitting since it's about lunch time! Hope you enjoy! https://t.co/oQsBLG0XgV — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2016
Blaney, Bubba are eating weird things again
RELATED: Blaney, Bubba taste-test gross foods Boys will be boys ... Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr . are back in the kitchen, and this time they have mouth guards. The two NASCAR drivers joined by friend, Carson Apple, pop in mouth guards and attempt to eat and drink with the plastic devices in their mouth. Let's just say, things got messy. See for yourself: Most we have ever laughed! Enjoy! @carson_apple @blaney https://t.co/eG1PWJVgdP — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) June 29, 2016
Larson sweeps all three Sprint Cup practices at New Hampshire
RELATED: Full results for final practice " Fastest 10-lap averages Kyle Larson made it a perfect sweep of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, as his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet flew to the top of the leaderboard at 132.577 mph in Saturday's final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Larson paced the field in Friday's lone session and tied Martin Truex Jr . for the fastest speed/time in Saturday's morning practice. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin made a late surge to nab the second spot on the speed charts, wheeling his No. 11 Toyota at 132.549 mph. Hendrick Motorsports ' Kasey Kahne laid down the third-fastest speed, his No. 5 Chevrolet peaking at 132.489 mph. Kahne and teammate Alex Bowman (10th), who is driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, were the only non-Chase drivers to record top-15 speeds in the final session. Pole sitter Carl Edwards came up fourth in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (132.420 mph), while Hendrick Motorsports ' Jimmie Johnson completed the top five with a fast speed of 132.255 mph from his No. 48 Chevrolet. Points leader Truex Jr. -- who tied Larson for the fastest speed in practice earlier today -- ranked sixth in the field this session, propelling his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota at 132. 250 mph. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was seventh-fastest, his No. 20 JGR Toyota topping out at 132.222 mph. Jamie McMurray (18th), Austin Dillon (22nd) and Chris Buescher (28th) were the only Chase drivers to record practice speeds outside the top 15. The Sprint Cup Series returns to the track Sunday for the Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Full results for Practice 2 Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr . both reached 132.186 mph early in the second Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver also paced the field during Friday's lone Sprint Cup practice session in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Last weekend's Chicagoland winner, Truex Jr. in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota laid down the exact same speed (132.186 mph) and lap time (28.814 seconds) as Larson in the 55-minute session. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was third-fastest, his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota reaching a top speed of 132.085 mph, while his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin came up fourth in the field (132.030 mph). Hendrick Motorsports ' Chase Elliott rounded out the top five with a top speed of 131.980 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet. Coors Light Pole winner Carl Edwards was sixth-fastest in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The top-nine performers in the second session were all Chase drivers and Chasers made up 11 of the top-15; Brad Keselowski (18th), Tony Stewart (19th), Austin Dillon (23rd) and Chris Buescher (33rd) were the outlying Chase competitors.
Monster smiles: Bubba makes history, strides at Dover
RELATED: E. Jones prevails for Dash 4 Cash bonus " Results DOVER, Del. -- Darrell " Bubba " Wallace Jr. was all smiles and high fives as he climbed out of his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing LoudMouth Exhaust Ford on pit road late Saturday afternoon at Dover International Speedway . His runner-up finish to Erik Jones was his best of the 2016 season, best of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career, and best ever for an African-American driver in the series. And it came in a backup car. "Our team, I keep saying it, we never give up," an enthusiastic Wallace said on pit road while receiving plenty of congratulations as people walked by. "It is really a credit to my guys right here for really thrashing this thing. It is unfortunate when you do have to bring the backup car out, like we talked about earlier. "We never give up and we work really hard to get some speed in this baby. I can't thank LoudMouth Exhaust enough for coming on board. This is a good debut for them. They will be on our car in Charlotte. We will go have some fun in two weeks, a home track for us, and hopefully we can get one spot better." Wallace had to work for his effort this weekend. He ran among the top six for most of the race after starting 11th. But he was in a reserve Mustang after crashing his car in opening practice. The 22-year-old has always had a good relationship with Dover, however, and his stellar history at this venue helped launch his NASCAR career. He won an XFINITY Series pole position in his first series start at the track in 2012 and again in 2015. He won the pole position in his first Camping World Truck Series start at The Monster Mile in 2013. And he won two poles here in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East ranks -- winning from the pole position in 2011. "That was big," Wallace said, allowing a smile. "We just have to continue on. We can use this for motivation but I said earlier, we are nowhere near close to where we need to be. We are off on speed and handling and we know that. "We have another off-weekend to find some more for our Ford Mustangs. We have to keep plugging away. We can't get frustrated and just give up on it. We have to keep our heads up and work together to get our team better. "This is a really good day for us. I can go to sleep tonight knowing that we gave it our all, especially after the backup car and all those shenanigans, it kind of erased that -- until I go in Monday and hear all about it again in the debrief." The showing at Dover kept Wallace ranked ninth in the XFINITY championship points. He trails leader Elliott Sadler by 81 points entering the series' next race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in two weeks.
Buescher, Bubba address Iowa dust-up
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- No big deal, says Bubba Wallace. Not an issue, according to teammate Chris Buescher . Move along folks, nothing to see here. There may or may not be some lingering ill feelings but no one’s talking payback. Last week’s late-race contact between the two Roush Fenway Racing drivers has been talked out and put away, both said Friday at Watkins Glen International, site of Saturday’s Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). Buescher, the series points leader for the past 10 weeks, finished outside the top 10 for the fifth straight race after contact between he and Wallace sent the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway into overtime last Saturday night. Wallace, sixth in the points standings, finished 11th. "We’ve been able to show up competitively to a lot of these race tracks and our teammates have done the same thing," the 22-year-old Buescher said Friday morning at WGI. "We’ve been racing around each other a lot and it’s tough, but we’ve got it handled and we’re looking forward to getting into this stretch (of races). "We have it to the point where we’re going to be able to race around each other and not have to worry about anything." Wallace, 21, agreed. Any ill feelings or issues from last week’s finish, he said, have been dealt with and "the focus is on this weekend’s race." Saturday night’s incident was the second of the season for the RFR teammates. At Dover earlier this year, a similar late-race get-together left Wallace with a flat tire and Buescher celebrating in Victory Lane. A five-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Wallace is still chasing his first XFINITY Series victory. Buescher has three career wins in XFINITY Series competition. "I love seeing that (conflict). I don’t know where it stands this week," JR Motorsports driver Regan Smith said Friday when asked about on-track issues among teammates. "It’s always difficult to race a teammate. We did it last year with myself and Chase (Elliott) running 1-2 for the majority of the season. You want to beat them for pride within your own shop but then you also know the picture, to gain points. … It doesn’t make it any easier. We’re all competitors and … selfish individuals." But, he added, "If it takes one ounce of focus away from what they’re doing, then it’s helping us out and I’m fine with that." Smith is fourth in points. Elliott, the defending series champion, is second.
NASCAR's inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend kicks off at Richmond
Editor's note: NASCAR.com will celebrate Fan Appreciation Weekend by making all premium features free in the NASCAR Mobile App. Those features include driver audio, in-car cameras and live, real-time telemetry. The driver who finishes first in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 race won't be the only winner this weekend at Richmond International Raceway . As part of NASCAR's inaugural Fan Appreciation weekend, more than one lucky fan will have the opportunity to go home with prizes like an iPad Mini, or even a fire suit worn by Miss Sprint Cup . "I'm really excited about everything we have this weekend to recognize the fans. They are the heart-and-soul of this sport and the reason we're so passionate about what we do," Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. "This goes far beyond Richmond International Raceway , as the entire industry has jumped on board to say 'Thank You, Fans'." The prizes have been donated from companies and teams like XFINITY , Monster, Roush Fenway Racing , Sprint, and MARS. The prizes will be awarded to both fans at the track and watching at home through the RIR mobile app, @RIRinsider on social media and www.rir.com . The prize giveaways are in addition to the fan experiences already in place, such as Gridside Live! and premium fan upgrades in the Midway at displays like Chevy, Coca-Cola and Sprint. While the bulk of fan appreciation-related activities will take place on Saturday, kids will be the ones getting the recognition on Friday, before the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. The first 50 kids 12-and-under who stop by the RIR Kids Club Tent on the Midway will have the chance to take part in the Kids' High-Five Tunnel with their favorite NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers during driver introductions for the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. In addition, one lucky kid will present the NBC12 pole award to the driver with the fastest time in qualifying. "Providing a fun and entertaining experience for all fans is a priority," Bickmeier said. "Opportunities to put young fans in the center of the sport, like we are doing with some of the kids-related activities during Fan Appreciation Weekend, provides a strong connection to NASCAR in a fun and educational environment." Kids can also visit the Virginia529 Kids Zone, where children and their parents can enjoy games, crafts and science experiments. As in years past, all children 12-and-under are admitted free to the Virginia529 College Savings 250 with a paying adult. For the latest news, weekend schedules, and behind-the-scenes exclusive content, follow @RIRInsider on social media. Searching #ThanksFans is the fastest way to stay up-to-date with latest Fan Appreciation Race news from around the sport including NASCAR, partners, media, and other fans. Tickets for the Who's Your Driver NASCAR race weekend at Richmond International Raceway are still available for purchase. The action starts Friday with US Department of Veteran Affairs Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and continues with the Virgina529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. On Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the track for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at 7:30 p.m. The race marks the last chance for drivers to clinch a spot in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup . To purchase tickets call 866-455-RACE or visit www.rir.com .
Suarez, Bubba , Blaney get 24/7 pit crews
Drivers rely on their pit crews for a lot: changing tires, mechanical adjustments, windshield tear-offs, you name it. Some drivers take it to the next level of dependency, though. Just ask Daniel Suarez , Bubba Wallace and Ryan Blaney , who apparently are so reliant on their pit crews, they're there from the moment the day starts, to helping out (a little too much) in the gym and even assisting during lunchtime, too. Our pals at Whistle Sports gave us an inside look at these drivers using their pit crews outside of the car, to some pretty hilarious results. Being a @NASCAR pit crew is a FULL TIME job... ft. @BubbaWallace @Daniel_SuarezG @Blaney @BuffDudes @ScooterMagruder https://t.co/ZETGEtugr4 — Whistle Sports (@WhistleSports) March 17, 2016 Being a @NASCAR pit crew is a FULL TIME job... ft. @BubbaWallace @Daniel_SuarezG @Blaney @BuffDudes @ScooterMagruder https://t.co/ZETGEtugr4 — Whistle Sports (@WhistleSports) March 17, 2016
Piano prank: Keselowski, Bubba fall for Junior's joke
Dale Earnhardt Jr ., piano protégé? That's exactly what he had his 1.35 million Twitter followers thinking for roughly 20 seconds during a short video he posted Monday. These piano lessons been paying off. pic.twitter.com/KNWfdAnC02 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) February 22, 2016 Those who watched the entire 23-second clip know that Junior was pulling quite the prank. Two very public followers of his, however, failed to catch on. @DaleJr kudos man. Tough to find the time to learn new things. — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) February 22, 2016 @DaleJr dude! Hell yeah, that's awesome! Let's throw in some drums and screams.. — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) February 22, 2016 Bubba quickly realized what he had done, though. @DaleJr damn... DA of the day award goes to me. — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) February 22, 2016 Don't sweat it, Bubba . You've still got Blaney as your bandmate. WATCH: The Blaney, Bubba jam session