Wallace confronts Frewaldt following practice wreck
November 07, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Incident occurred in second Truck Series practice at Phoenix
MORE: Practice results
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Darrell Wallace Jr. won't be punished by NASCAR for an on-track altercation with Chad Frewaldt Thursday after the two drivers crashed during practice at Phoenix International Raceway.
Wallace, sixth in the Camping World Truck Series standings, had just passed Frewaldt on the outside in Turn 3 when the two made contact going through Turn 4.
Wallace's Kyle Busch Motorsports truck spun around and up against the wall in front of Frewaldt's RSS entry before sliding back down the track and into the inside wall.
Frewaldt was still in his truck, his window net down, when Wallace charged up the banking and appeared to attempt to strike the driver.
"I was and I wasn't (thinking)," Wallace said. "I knew if I tried to throw a punch, I'd probably break my hand because he still had his helmet on. … I might have pushed his head over a little bit to get his attention. But it's just frustrating. It's kind of hard to control yourself when you're that mad, especially when it's practice."
Wallace, who won his first race in the series last month, said he could tell Frewaldt was still in the throttle when they exited the third turn.
"I heard him never lift. I looked in my side mirror and he was still there, the spotter said 'still there inside' and … the next thing you know I'm spinning around, hit the fence pretty good.
"Honestly, I think he should have backed out. We were 10 times faster than him; we're both rookies so I get it, we're trying to learn the track. But if you're that far off the pace then step back. Fall in behind … that's the biggest thing.
"I know if I'm getting passed I'm not going to screw up someone else's line and run in there to their door and clean out the guy. That's what I'm frustrated about the most. It easily could have been missed, both on my part and his part."
The KBM team had already rolled out a back-up truck and begun the process of switching over parts before the series' second practice had concluded.
The team chose to use the backup entry of Erik Jones, who is driving the No. 51 entry in Friday's Lucas Oil 150. This was done in part because Wallace's back-up had the Good Sam paint scheme instead of Toyota Care, but mainly because the No. 51 back-up had more of a short-track setup.
Wallace's back-up, said crew chief Jerry Baxter, "is more of an intermediate (truck).
"We're six points out of fifth place right now," he said, "and we've got to give ourselves the best chance to get in that top five. … It's a little setback, but hopefully if we're strong enough, we'll come back on it."
Baxter said Wallace won't be able to discern much with just two laps of qualifying on Friday in the new truck. "But we've got three teams here. We'll put our heads together and we'll be alright."
KBM is also fielding the No. 18 of Joey Coulter.
If there were a dozen or more crewmen swarming around the Wallace truck, there were only four or five trying to put the No. 38 of Frewaldt back together. Including the driver.
Armed with a hammer and looking to make his first start in the series, Frewaldt was attempting to straighten bent sheet metal while others worked underneath the No. 38 truck.
"I was trying to get up to speed, we're going down into Turn 3 and we got together," he said of the incident. "What actually happened, I really don't know for sure.
"We're about 30th fastest on the speed charts, and he's probably up in the top-10. So that tells you who got into the corner first.
"I can't say who caused it, because I'm not for sure."
Neither driver was injured and both spoke with NASCAR officials behind closed doors after the incident.
"You remind everyone these are young men, they're competitive , this is the heat of the moment," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said afterward.
"He (Wallace) did slap at the helmet. And it's a race car helmet and a race car. So I'm pretty sure the helmet is OK. … He was just frustrated and you get that."