Final Laps: Bubba Burger 250
Virginia-native Denny Hamlin holds his lead on a late-race restart to get his 11th win in the Nationwide Series.
Bubba , Blaney had front-row seat at WWE's Monday Night Raw
A queen and a boss battled, Ric Flair made an appearance and plenty of fists were being thrown. Safe to say, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr . weren't at the race track. NASCAR's dynamic duo took a trip to WWE's Monday Night Raw, where they got front-row seats to the big show in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event saw Sasha Banks -- "The Legit Boss" -- defeat the hometown wrestler Charlotte -- "The Queen" and Ric Flair's daughter -- to become Raw Women's champion for the third time. Blaney and Bubba not only got a close view of all the action-packed drama, they also went behind the scenes before the show. Take a look at their night: @NASCAR Drivers @Blaney @BubbaWallace race into Monday Night #Raw and snap a photo with @TitusONeilWWE ! pic.twitter.com/PH4iSwcVu7 — WWE (@WWE) November 29, 2016 See us on Monday night raw, coming up soon!!!! @WWE pic.twitter.com/cWY5rsDoJr — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) November 29, 2016 Look close. You'll recognize some #NASCAR people pic.twitter.com/L34PKrOvej — Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) November 29, 2016 My eyes are up... @Blaney is questionable. #bachelor https://t.co/2A09Vqqz6Y — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) November 29, 2016
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."
NASCAR TV schedule: December 5-11
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.
Bubba Wallace: Helping NASCAR grow one tweet at a time
As the sport of stock car racing evolves, a new generation of drivers is poised to grab the reins of NASCAR. And Darrell Wallace Jr . -- better known as " Bubba ," driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the XFINITY Series -- is one of the leaders of that charge. • • • Standing in the Concord, North Carolina-based Roush Fenway Racing museum on a brisk Wednesday morning, Wallace has zero airs about being one of the up-and-coming stars in racing. Dressed smartly in a pullover, flat-bill hat and leather Converse, he arrives promptly, immediately greeting everyone in the crew like old friends. "Time to look pretty now," Bubba tweeted out just prior to an on-camera interview. It has been a busy day for the 22-year-old, who just biked across RFR's campus from the morning pit practice and reveals he's heading to the ZMAX Dragway later in the day before leaving for Bristol Motor Speedway the next morning. But he's young, energetic and ambitious -- with a booming laugh that comes easily. Busy days like this don't seem to wear on him. That same fire and energy translates to the race track. Wallace and crew chief Seth Barbour put together a sixth-place run at the Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway -- a track that's not on Bubba's list of favorites -- and more recently, a career-best third-place at Auto Club Speedway . "We've just been working really hard, never giving up," Wallace said. "Going into Fontana, I didn't expect to finish third -- maybe 23rd the way we were running. … We've just been trying to really make a lot of gains." Nonetheless, it's the races sandwiched between Bubba's strong runs -- Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix -- and a 15th-place result at Texas that the No. 6 driver focuses his attention on when he recounts the early part of the season. "Daytona, Fontana really went our way somewhat. The (others) did not," Wallace said. "We have to focus on why (those) did not and come up with a better game-plan to attack those next handful of races coming up." As Wallace adjusts to his sophomore season, the newly debuted XFINITY Series Chase format adds another element to the competition with its win-and-you're-in format. And Bubba is a fan. "I think it takes the pressure off us, really," he said. "I was talking to (Dale Earnhardt) Junior about it and he said that was the main thing that helped him was kind of relaxing. You get in kind of this consistent run -- obviously if you win, you're in. So, the emphasis is on winning but you can kind of take a step back knowing the points are going to reset as long as you're in the top 12. "So, it's exciting. I'm glad that NASCAR implemented that into the NASCAR XFINITY Series." • • • It's unsurprising Bubba favors the format, as the thrilling nature of the new Chase seems to fit the Bubba Wallace Brand -- something he's constantly building. It's a brand that’s a mixture of sass, humor, heavy metal music and transparency his fans experience through his social-media accounts. It could be a Twitter video of him and best friend/fellow driver Ryan Blaney 's heavy metal cover of a Parkway Drive song or a Snapchat of his plane ride to the track. It could be a tweet that reveals his fear of spiders ("You want an eight-legged thing running at you? Jumping at you? No," he said later) or an Instagram of his hike on the West Coast. No matter the subject, it's pure Bubba . That transparency allows fans to connect with Bubba away from the race track -- a luxury that many fans lack with their favorite drivers. "You get some of the funny tweets that you're not supposed to respond to but you do," Wallace said. "… It's just fun to be able to interact with them (fans). At the track, getting autographs, we get to talk to each other, but that's only two days out of the week. So, throughout, just keep them up with what you're doing." In the process, Bubba is aiding in the sport's growth: He appeared on an episode of the popular television show "American Idol" while in Los Angeles. He suited up for the gridiron and practiced with his childhood favorite Tennessee Volunteers football team. He's befriended rock stars like the band members from Asking Alexandria, bringing them to the race track. Just like that, NASCAR and pop culture have become intertwined. "Aside from what we do for a living, as far as race cars and turning left and going really fast, we have a personal life that we kind of like to show and show fans how we can connect with them," Wallace said. "A lot of fans watch 'American Idol' and I've got a lot of UT fans that follow me, so I've gotten to go to some of those games. And now I (got) to practice with the squad, which (was) really cool and one of the best days of my life. "But we just connect with the fans -- it's all about the fans in this sport," he continued. "We want to keep them engaged and get them to latch on, help build my brand." As the sport evolves, life's natural processes take place: Original, die-hard fans still form the core of NASCAR's audience, but as star drivers retire and up-and-comers make their marks, a younger generation steps into the light in the stands, too. These fans are still passionate -- but they're different. Young stars like Bubba know how to reach them. "I think anything that we do that's exciting, that's fun, that's cool to us is going to attract a new face," Wallace said. "NASCAR's all about bringing new faces in … We're trying to keep a consistent flow through and just trying to make everything exciting." At just 22 years old and at the beginning of a promising career, Bubba represents the future of NASCAR. And that future rocks out to Parkway Drive on the drums.
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
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.
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
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