Wallace Jr. looks to regain his rhythm at Dover
May 29, 2014, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
DOVER, Del. -- During an extended rain delay that canceled all but about 10 minutes of practice Thursday afternoon, Ryan Blaney "trapped" his good friend and Camping World Truck Series competitor Darrell "Bubba” Wallace Jr. in a port-a-potty in the Dover International Speedway infield.
The two had a good laugh and exchanged Twitter photos and jabs. But the practical joke may actually be good strategy for Blaney and the rest of Friday's Lucas Oil 200 field.
It may be the only way to slow Wallace down at The Monster Mile.
The 20-year old Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has won the pole position in his last four trips to Dover – twice in NASCAR K&N Pro Series races (2011-12), once in the Nationwide Series (2012) and last year in the Truck Series.
He won the 2011 K&N race from pole and finished 12th in the Nationwide race the next day in only his fourth NNS start. Last year, he led 119 laps in the Truck race and finished 10th.
So while an abbreviated practice session Thursday may be costly to his competitors, Dover is one place on the schedule Wallace already feels absolutely prepared.
"This is definitely one I've been thinking about for a long time, like Martinsville, where everyone's asking if we're going to win," Wallace said waiting out a rain delay Thursday in the lounge of the KBM transporter.
"I've got that attitude again and I'm ready to get on track. This is one of the tracks I come to and after having a rough season like we're having, I know it's a place we can get it turned around, move forward and come out of here on a high note."
It is definitely a fortuitous point in the schedule for Wallace, who was fourth-fastest in the No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra during Thursday's brief practice.
Because of Thursday's mostly-rained out practice sessions, NASCAR opted to determine the lineup by the rule book, which sets the starting field by owners points. Wallace will start Friday's race 15th, while his team owner Busch will start on pole.
It's been a minefield of a season despite high hopes and championship predictions. He's ranked 10th in the championship – 54 points behind leader Matt Crafton – with a season best runner-up showing at Martinsville, Va. and a midpack 15th place at Kansas book-ended by accidents in the season-opener at Daytona and two weeks ago at Charlotte.
"We keep saying we're going to start over," Wallace said smiling. "After Kansas, we said we're going to start over. Then Charlotte came about.
"It is early, but with the schedule, we only have 18 races left. We're so far back in the points – 54 points now – that's like three or four races those guys have to finish in the back like we've been finishing.
"We just have to go out there and not worry about the last three races we've had and focus on what we did at Martinsville and ran second.
"If we can do that, we'll be fine. Hopefully we'll get in a rhythm here and get this turned around.”