2002 wreck mirrors Austin's Daytona crash, Rusty Wallace involved, too Austin Dillon 's much-talked about Daytona crash paralleled to a wreck from more than a decade ago in Pocono, with both crashes involving Dale Earnhardt Jr . In 2002, Steve Park was lining up with his competition at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500, hoping to snag his second top-10 at the track. Park never did see a top-10 finish that day. In fact, he didn't even complete the first lap thanks to a nasty wreck involving Park, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr . between Turn 1 and 2. The accident was initially sparked by NASCAR Hall of Famer Wallace . Wallace's No. 2 Team Penske Ford hit the wall after the first turn. Park tried to avoid making contact with the spinning Ford and attempted to move sideways. In his quest to dodge out of Wallace's path, he came into contact with teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr . Dale Jr. got under Park's No. 1 Chevrolet causing both cars to spin onto the grass. While on the grass, Park slammed into an interior guardrail, flipping the car over violently, multiple times. Similar to his reaction to Dilllon's crash, Dale Jr. was concerned about Park's well-being as it took safety workers some time to help him out of his upside-down vehicle. RELATED: 88 crew recalls frenzy to check on Dillon When Junior was able to get out of his own car, he sprinted over to check on his teammate. Not only was it difficult getting Park out of his car, but it led to a 65-minute red-flag caution with repairs to the interior barrier having to take place before the field could go back to green. Park, like Austin Dillon , walked away from the crash just fine and headed to the infield care center arm-in-arm with Junior.
Drama, spins, fireworks send Kenny Wallace out with a bang RELATED: Wallace gets emotional surprise ahead of final race NEWTON, Iowa -- Kenny Wallace received more than his fair share of adventure in his final XFINITY Series start, closing the book on a NASCAR career in his 905th national series event. A pair of spins, a small post-race talking-to and plenty of special pre-race moments dominated Wallace's warm night at Iowa Speedway, where he came home 15th in his last ride in NASCAR. "It was exciting," Wallace said. "Obviously, I'm not going to be upset over a hard-earned 15th-place finish. It was just a deal where everything was going good -- what were we, like ninth, 13th all night -- and looked like we were going to close in on a good finish but as normal with short-track racing, the horns came out at the very end." Late-race mayhem snagged the 51-year-old Wallace on two occasions, crinkling the front-end of his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. But a mid-race gaffe provided another odd wrinkle when his left-side mirror came unattached, tapping his left leg as it fell to the floorboard. Wallace said the missing side mirror was no excuse for the late-race contact that followed, including a brush with Ryan Reed that sent him spiraling. While Wallace was not pleased with Reed's bump, he was more upset when the 21-year-old driver tried to shuffle past him to avoid a post-race sermon from Herman on pit road. "I just chewed Ryan Reed 's butt out," said Wallace , who finished his career with nine national series victories. "I said, 'Buddy, next time you spin somebody out like that, don't pass me up.' He was going to walk right past me on pit road. So tried to give those young kids a little bit of information. I said, 'When you spin somebody out, you stop.' Going out, trying to give advice. I'm not whining or crying about nothing -- Earnhardt taught me. The only bummer is I can't go back and get him next week." Wallace's remarks were punctuated by a trademark laugh, but what he may not have known was that Reed had just been involved in a separate confrontation, shoving Ross Chastain on pit lane after the race before trying to make a frustrated beeline to his team hauler. "Naturally, he wasn't happy and he thought I was just going to blow it off and walk away, which is not my intention," Reed told NASCAR.com. "With everything that had happened on pit road, I just wasn't thinking about it. Again, really sorry to Kenny. That was not my intention. I definitely didn't want to be the guy to spin him out in his last race, but it was 100 percent unintentional. I will end up saying, 'I'm sorry,' as many times as I have to. ... Hopefully, we can talk later on." As many subplots as Saturday night's 260-lap overtime thriller provided, it failed to take the glow off the many heart-warming moments before the event. More family members flew in Saturday for the race, posing for a pre-race photo after driver introductions. But Wallace was also honored during the pre-race drivers' meeting, sharing a few words and pulling out his phone to reference a tweet from longtime friend DeLana Harvick. Wallace thanked everyone in attendance and was feted with a standing ovation in appreciation for his time in the sport, a tenure that will continue in the broadcast booth and in recreational dirt-track racing. "That drivers' meeting was over the top," Wallace told NASCAR.com. "It started getting a little crazy there before the race, such superstars and drivers I admire were tweeting me. DeLana Harvick tweeted something I'll never forget and I shared that with everyone at the drivers' meeting. I think we all learned what DeLana said, 'Don't be sad that it's over, be happy that you did it.' "Hey, it's all over now. I'm excited. That's it. On to TV and on to dirt racing." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kenny Wallace reflects on his NASCAR career before making his final start in the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland.
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell talks about the possibility of changes to pit road at Pocono Raceway and how they can keep drivers and crewmen safe in the aftermath of Kasey Kahne's and Jeb Burton's incidents.
Jeb Burton, Kasey Kahne both had hard hits over weekend A separate pair of incidents at Pocono Raceway has led to plans to alter the facility's pit road wall after two drivers wrecked into it over the weekend, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told NASCAR.com on Monday. Jeb Burton (final practice) and Kasey Kahne (Sunday's race) both got loose off Turn 3 in separate incidents, lost control of their respective vehicles and wrecked into the inside wall on pit row. Kahne's incident on Sunday knocked him out of the race, and it was almost identical to Burton's wreck -- the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet essentially followed the same tire marks that Burton had put down. "First, it's important to look at what happened in Pocono," O'Donnell said. "Certainly it was unique with Jeb Burton , and then you saw Kasey Kahne really unbelievably follow him with same tire tracks during the event. Tom Gideon, our safety expert, was already up at Pocono drawing up some plans to look at extending the pit wall. "With that comes some challenges. We have to make sure the drivers coming out of Turn 3 during the race, that it's a safe situation by extending the wall. We'll work with the race track. We've got to explore the angles, look at all the data we have from the race cars as well and kind of combine all that. The initial plan is ... we'll plan to extend the wall at Pocono. And certainly from there, to take a look at each one of our venues." President and CEO of Pocono Raceway, Brandon Igdalsky, also commented on the safety procedures that came into question during the Windows 10 400 . “Our commitment to driver safety is paramount,” said Igdalsky. "We have made multiple upgrades and updates to our facility, with more safety improvements rolling out before the 2016 NASCAR season. We work hand-in-hand with NASCAR throughout the year to execute and implement these changes. "Once NASCAR collects the data, as it pertains to the unique incidents involving Jeb Burton and Kasey Kahne from this past weekend, we will communicate with one another and develop the safest solution.” O'Donnell also tackled the question of whether or not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would race at Iowa Speedway. Saturday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series event at the Rusty Wallace -designed .875-mile oval produced plenty of good racing, a thrilling conclusion ... and some drama, as well. "Well, I think when you look at our Cup schedule right now, there's no secret that it's full," O'Donnell said. "One of the things that's unique about Iowa that we like is the ability for the XFINITY Series to go there and be the showcase event. I believe that's why you're talking about it today, seeing Ryan Blaney hold off a number of hungry competitors on a couple of green-white-checkered (finishes), really doing his job to win that event. "We like the fact the XFINITY Series can be the showcase event. It deserves that. Iowa is a unique venue and it produces some great racing for us … and we like what we're seeing there."
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
Daughter Brittany reveals a special helmet for Iowa race RELATED: Grand marshal added to Wallace's Iowa duties " Racing with nephew Matt NEWTON, Iowa -- Until Friday, Kenny Wallace 's plans to hang up his NASCAR driving helmet this weekend at Iowa Speedway were only missing one small detail -- the helmet itself. His former team kept deflecting his phone calls, telling him not to worry and that his helmet would be there for the 905th start of his long, storied NASCAR career. The smokescreen was effective -- it bought his daughter Brittany enough time to have it professionally painted with a commemorative collage of snapshots and memories from his 26 years in the sport. While Wallace's time behind the wheel in NASCAR will end with Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the sport won't be saying goodbye to one of its most charismatic characters, who will remain a presence both in TV broadcasting and at local dirt tracks. Though there will be some finality after he steps away Saturday night, Wallace said he'll do his best to keep his emotions in check along the way. "I think there's going to be moments and I hope that it happens after the race, but I've done a pretty good job at my career to really focus in on what I have to do," said Wallace , who will carry backing from the race's title sponsor on his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. "I remember when Ernie Irvan got hurt (in 1994) and I was in that Texaco/Havoline car in the Cup Series, I was shifting the gears getting on the high banks there at Bristol and I could hear the roar of the crowd, and I was like, 'No. Focus.' "I've learned a lot along the way. I've watched Jeff Gordon this year; I don't even know how he can go. I've learned a lot. I'm ready to race, and then we'll deal with everything after the race and when I get out of the car." That theory held true for about 30 minutes after his arrival at the .875-mile track, when Brittany Wallace handed over the special surprise to her father in front of a group of friends and family. Short of choking up, the 51-year-old Wallace said he had sworn he would not be emotional, but was genuinely moved by the gift. Wallace joked that he hopes to amend the helmet's graphics Saturday night, changing his nine career XFINITY wins to an even 10. But the joke belied his ever-sharper focus with top-shelf JGR equipment underneath him for this weekend's swan song. "If he's saying he's blocking it out, he's way better at doing something like that than I am," said older brother Mike Wallace , like his sibling a nine-time winner in NASCAR national competition. "He said he's happy with it, content. All I can say is more power to him. It's outstanding. I just ran into him over there and he's got his family and friends, he's the grand marshal for a (K&N Series) race tonight, he's got a suite here. He seems to be having fun right now. He said, 'I've got to go sign some hats,' and I was like, 'Go be famous. That's what you're good at.'" The nature of the family-affair weekend has even more ties. Kenny Wallace will share the track with his nephew, Matt, who is scheduled to make his second career XFINITY Series start Saturday night. His farewell race will also take place on a short track designed by oldest brother Rusty Wallace , a NASCAR Hall of Famer. The eldest Wallace ended his driving career in 2005, but like his brother, he remained active in the sport with broadcasting stints in television and radio. It's why both Wallaces have shied away from calling the occasion "retirement" with a capital R. "I wish him all the luck in the world," said Rusty Wallace , speaking Thursday at a charity event in Pennsylvania for The NASCAR Foundation and the Jeff Gordon 's Children's Foundation. "I told him the other day, do not use that word retirement. You don't need to do that. They'll label you with that. I said notice Jeff Gordon said he's quitting, but he's not retiring, but he's never going to race again. So he's kind of retiring but he's not going to use that word. He learned that from me and Mark Martin . I told Kenny, you didn't need to do that. He'll be fine." So if anyone was hoping to get rid of Kenny Wallace after this weekend, tough luck. The driver known for his boundless energy, his grace with racing fans, his social media presence, his extracurricular dirt-racing travels and his broadcasting moxie isn't going anywhere. After 900-plus starts dating back to a 1988 debut at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 8 ride owned by Dale Earnhardt in what is now the XFINITY Series, Wallace said simply that "there needs to be a line in the sand" for his driving career. Staying power in NASCAR can often be fleeting and rare, a fact that has made Wallace even prouder of his long run in the sport's highest levels. Wallace's helmet is anchored by the words "Life is a journey," a well-worn adage he said he always tells his three daughters. Wallace's own journey will enter its next phase after Saturday night. "My mom, Judy, she said to me, 'Kenny, hon. You keep reinventing yourself,' " Wallace said. "I'm like 'really, Mom?' It's not a plan, it's just that I want to stay in the sport. I think longevity and persistence is what I'm so proud of, because let's face it, I was never an 'A' driver. To me, I feel proud saying I was a 'B-plus' driver. I won nine XFINITY races, 177 top-10s -- I mean, that counts for something. When I should've been down and out, I stayed digging." Contributing: RJ Kraft from Pocono Raceway FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kenny Wallace gets a surprise from his daughter before racing his final NASCAR series race.
Darrell Wallace Jr. talks to NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine about his 1967 Volkswagon Beetle.
He also makes his driving finale in Iowa XFINITY Series race RELATED: Iowa to mark Wallace's last start " Matt will race against uncle Kenny The Iowa race weekend is becoming a Wallace family festival, with Kenny Wallace adding grand marshal for the #ThanksKenny 150 to his duties. Wallace announced earlier that the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa on Saturday, Aug. 1, would be his last start. And he will be joined in that race by fellow driver Matt Wallace , Kenny's nephew and Mike's son. The US Cellular 250 presented by New Holland will be Matt Wallace 's second start in a national series. Kenny Wallace , the all-time leader in career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts (546), will say those famous words at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West race Friday night, July 31 at 9 p.m. ET. The K&N Series also is honoring Wallace by naming the 150-miler the #ThanksKenny 150 as a tribute to Wallace ’s 26-year NASCAR career. "When Kenny revealed that his last NASCAR race would come at Iowa Speedway, we gave serious thought to how we could best recognize his accomplishments. We knew we had to put together a celebration as big as his personality," said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. "It doesn’t get much bigger than having a race named in your honor. That is something that will live on as long as we keep records, and Kenny Wallace is a person who is truly deserving of that distinction." As grand marshal, Wallace will say the four most famous words in racing -- "Drivers, start your engines!" prior to the start of the race. Following the race, Wallace will be in Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane to present the trophy to the winner. "I love connecting with fans from all over the world on social media sites, so when I was told about the hashtag (#ThanksKenny), it really made me smile and laugh at the same time," said Wallace , who announced on Twitter he would be piloting the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing at the in the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (Aug. 1, 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, MRN, SiriusXM). "I'm really excited to give the command to 'start your engines' on Friday night. That’s definitely something new for me," Wallace said. "But I already have a plan on how I’m going to say it, and of course it will be funny." Wallace has served as a NASCAR analyst for FOX Sports, appearing on FOX Sports 1's "NASCAR RaceDay" and "NASCAR Victory Lane" programs. He also does a "Herman Unplugged" feature, offering his opinions on the hot topics in the sport, for NASCAR Illustrated that appears on NASCAR.com. The No. 20 XFINITY Series car has seen five drivers take turns behind the wheel this season for JGR. Erik Jones has made nine starts, Matt Kenseth three, Denny Hamlin three and Ross Kenseth and David Ragan have each made one start in the car. Jones won at Texas, while Hamlin won at Richmond and New Hampshire. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule