Virginia-native Denny Hamlin holds his lead on a late-race restart to get his 11th win in the Nationwide Series.
Driver set to compete in NASCAR XFINITY Series Darrell " Bubba " Wallace Jr., third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final standings this past season and a graduate of NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity initiatives, will compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015 for Roush Fenway Racing , according to RFR officials. Wallace, 21, will join drivers Chris Buescher , Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler in the RFR lineup. Wallace will pilot the organization's No. 6 Ford Mustang previously driven by Trevor Bayne . Additional team personnel and sponsorship will 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. "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." Wallace won five races from 2013-14 while competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, scoring four this past season. RELATED: Bubba done with KBM as team announces 2015 lineup In 2013, he became the first African American driver to win a NASCAR national series event in 50 years when he won his first Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway . This past year, he successfully defended his title while driving an entry whose paint scheme and number 34 paid tribute to NASCAR's first African American winner, Wendell Scott. Wallace made six career Nationwide (soon to be XFINITY ) Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing , with whom he was under contract, between 2012-14. He finished in the top 10 in four of those starts, with a best finish of seventh at Iowa (in 2012) and Daytona (2014). However, without sponsorship to remain at KBM, and with no funding for him at JGR in the XFINITY Series, Wallace asked for and was granted his release earlier this month. RFR president Steve Newmark said Wallace "is viewed in industry circles as one of the brightest young drivers." "He has a charismatic personality and at the same time has exhibited the ability to win on the race track," Newmark said. "We are looking forward to getting him in our race cars next season." In addition to the four XFINITY Series teams, Roush Fenway also fields teams in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series for drivers Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Greg Biffle . Bayne, who is making the move up to compete full time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015, finished sixth in the Nationwide Series this past season, while Buescher, who won once, was seventh and Reed ninth. Sadler spent the previous two seasons at JGR, finishing fourth in 2013 and third this past year. RELATED: Wallace Jr. receives release from JGR Roush Fenway Racing's XFINITY Series program is the winningest in NASCAR, having earned 133 victories. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (2011-12), Carl Edwards (2007) and Biffle (2002) have won series championships for the group. "We are certainly pleased to have Bubba Wallace come on board," team co-owner Jack Roush said. "He is certainly a great young talent and I feel it will be mutually beneficial for us to be able to put him into a team environment with a veteran driver like Elliott (Sadler) and the young guys Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed . "We have had a great deal of history in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and we are happy to have Bubba as the latest piece of that rich legacy." The addition of Wallace to the Ford camp is a boost for the automaker as well. "We're thrilled to have Bubba Wallace be part of our Ford Mustang racing efforts," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "His winning performances since becoming part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program have certainly made him one of the drivers in the sport to watch in the future, and we think he can bring a lot to Roush Fenway and Ford, both on and off the track." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bubba Wallace talks about the final laps in his win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and his status for next season.
Wallace Jr. tries to repeat on weekend honoring Wendell Scott TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Darrell Wallace Jr. bounds into the media center, shaking hands and saying hellos as though he wanted to be there. He recently turned 21, and is excited to finally have the chance to win a Keystone Light Pole Award. A year ago, when he won his first NASCAR national series race at Martinsville Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series , he couldn’t enjoy a champagne celebration in Victory Lane. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has seen a lot in that year. In the 21 races following his first win, he's scored two more trips to Victory Lane and seven top-five finishes. He still taunts good friend Ryan Blaney on Twitter, showing that he really is just 21, but has developed into a more level-headed driver in the year after his first win. "The maturity level has gone up, I'd say, inside the race car," Wallace said of the past year. "... I think just learning everything -- learning the tracks, understanding how things work, letting little stuff go, and focusing on the end of the race, instead of getting flustered at the beginning when I lose six or seven spots, and get upset and end up wrecking." That scenario plagued Wallace twice last year, once at Charlotte Motor Speedway and again at Kentucky Speedway. A poor restart at Charlotte and slow pit stop at Kentucky both lost positions for the then 20-year-old rookie, and both situations ended in a wreck for the No. 54 team. He's kept himself out of trouble more often this year, resulting in a much-improved season. " ... Now we just go out and have (a) fun, smooth race -- still not happy if we don't win, but it's still a good points day to finish in sixth vs. 26th, so i think that has changed a lot," Wallace said. "I've relaxed and learn to take in more and listen more and go out there and utilize that -- what I've learned, -- it's definitely shown." Also impressed with his season is boss and Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch , who knows how emotion can impact the performance of his full-time driver. "Our trucks have been really good this year; it has been great to see other talent run well in our stuff with Bubba -- and Erik Jones as well," Busch said after his win at Chicagoland Speedway , finishing five spots ahead of Wallace. "I look forward to watching the rest of the year and see if Bubba can't make a challenge for the championship ... he needs to keep his head up and just keep fighting." Wallace has also been a big part of NASCAR history. Beyond earning a personal milestone at Martinsville Speedway with his first Trucks win, Wallace also became the first African-American driver to win a national series race since Wendell Scott in 1963, as well as the first to win in the Camping World Truck Series. The Scott family was on hand at Martinsville to witness and celebrate the history of the occasion. "When the checkered flag dropped, I heard a big boom from heaven, and my daddy said 'Hell, yeah!'" Franklin Scott, son of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer, said after the race. Wallace, on the other hand, seemed a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the occasion. "It's been great seeing all the outlets that I'm on, doing all this stuff, it's for the better, and it's trying to change the sport, and I'm all-in for that," he said. "Just carrying the torch that Wendell Scott laid down for us, and taking it farther. That's the biggest thing I'm trying to do." When he returns to the track this weekend, known as Scott's home track, Wallace will drive with Scott's number and paint scheme adorning his KBM truck as he continue to battle toward the Camping World Truck Series title, which would put the young driver in NASCAR history books once again. "The colors look good, the blue-and-white Toyota Tundra No. 34 is going to be different for sure, but I'm excited to carry on the Wendell Scott banner and represent their family and his legacy for that weekend," Wallace said. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Blown engine while running second ends Wallace's night in Texas FORT WORTH, Texas -- The points race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series took a dramatic turn during the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 on a wild Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway . After climbing to within 16 points of leader Matt Crafton , Darrell Wallace Jr . lost his engine on Lap 106 of 147 while driving in second place, ending his night. It was a devastating blow to the championship hopes of the 21-year-old driver, who refused media interviews afterward but sent out the following message on social media: Sorry didn't wanna talk, heart broken. I have no words, devastated. Thank you all. Too good to be true. — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) November 1, 2014 Meanwhile, Crafton, who is attempting to become the first back-to-back champion in the series' history, fought off his own issues to finish fifth and increase his lead from 18 to 23 points over Ryan Blaney . Wallace dropped from 22 points behind to 43 points down with two races to go in the 2014 season. Like Crafton, Blaney had to work extra hard to end up with a ninth-place finish. He battled electrical problems and lost some track position shortly after the halfway point of the race when he pitted with 79 laps to go -- eight laps earlier than expected -- to get new tires and better grip. Crafton complained of possible engine issues on Lap 57 but did not end up having them as his truck kept its top speed. That's why it was a cruel bit of irony for Wallace to be running so well, seemingly flawlessly, before his engine blew. The disappointment was evident as Wallace walked back from the infield care center toward his hauler and took a quick right turn to avoid media. Wallace's crew chief Jerry Baxter spoke in the garage area while the truck was being worked on in the background. "We don't know what happened to the motor, but these motors run great every week," Baxter said. "He showed a lot of maturity driving, our truck was really right tonight. At least we were able to race Kyle for once instead of him running off." Busch did end up with the victory, however, his 42nd in the series, but the driver of the No. 51 was mindful of his teammate's misfortune afterward. " Bubba was really good," Busch said. "I was actually really impressed with how well he was running, and when he was running the top he was making some really good moves and some smart decisions. I enjoyed racing with him. It's a shame to see his engine fail as it did, but those guys at JGR give us some good motors." Now Wallace is forced into almost a must-win situation for the final two races in order to have any chance at a title, and even if he does that he'll need help in the form of misfortune for the Nos. 88 and 29. "When we talk points, he doesn't want to hear it because he thinks that's when things are going to go bad," Baxter said. "He has better days ahead." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bubba shares his personal list of 'must-follow' drivers on Twitter