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Wallace celebrates anniversary with Talladega victory

October 30, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

KHI masters tandem draft; Buescher closes in on Dillon in championship race

In his first Camping World Truck Series start since 2009, Mike Wallace won Saturday's Coca-Cola 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, as Kevin Harvick Inc. teammate Ron Hornaday Jr. pushed him across the finish line.

Hornaday ran second, followed by James Buescher, who made a dent in the series points lead of Austin Dillon. Dillon scrambled to a seventh-place finish after he was demoted to 18th for not maintaining pace under the final caution of the race. The recovery enabled Dillon to stay ahead of Buescher in the standings.


Race Results
2. Ron Hornaday Chevrolet
3. James Buescher Chevrolet
4. Ricky Carmichael Chevrolet
5. Jason White Chevrolet

* Video: Wallace, Hornaday finish 1-2 | Dillon penalized

The victory was the fifth overall for Wallace, who was substituting for Elliott Sadler, whose wife, Amanda, is expecting the couple's second child. Wallace won in the Truck Series for the first time since 2000. The victory was his first in any of NASCAR's top three touring series since he won a Nationwide race at Daytona in July 2004.

Wallace had tears in his eyes when he climbed out of his truck in Victory Lane.

"I'm very emotional right now, because a lot of people doubt you," Wallace said. "They doubt your ability. An opportunity like this just proves, 'Hey, I can get it done. Give me something good to drive, and I can prove I can do it.'

"I'm numb. My son's at home, my daughters ... I wish they were all here. It is my wife [Carla] and my anniversary this weekend. It's a cool anniversary."

Wallace turned to his wife in Victory Lane.

"This is your exotic weekend, honey," Wallace said.

Johnny Sauter's championship aspirations suffered a major setback on Lap 35. He and ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton had dropped to the rear of the field to stay out of harm's way early in the race, but the strategy backfired.

The two trucks crashed as they ran together in tandem, after Donnie Neuenberger's Chevrolet blew a right-front tire in front of them. Sauter, who entered the race second in the standings and five points behind Dillon, lost two laps as his crew made repairs on pit road.

* Video: Draft goes wrong for Sauter


• Mike Wallace scored his fifth career win in his 115th series start; it's his first win since March 2000 at Mesa Marin (42 starts since).
• Mike Wallace scored his second superspeedway win (Daytona 2000).
• Mike Wallace had not started a Truck race since October 2009, at Talladega.
• Mike Wallace in the 11th different driver to win in 2011.
• Kevin Harvick Inc. scored its 42nd career win and ninth of the season, most of all teams; it's KHI's first win at Talladega.
• Mike Wallace is the sixth different driver to win for KHI.
• Chevrolet scored its 13th win of the season; it's the make's first win at Talladega.
• Ron Hornaday (second) posted his 12th top-five finish of 2011; it's his second runner-up finish at Talladega.
• Kevin Harvick Inc. scored its sixth career 1-2 finish.
• James Buescher (third) posted his 10th top-five finish of 2011.
• Ricky Carmichael (fourth) tied his career-best finish; it's his first top-five of 2011.
• Jason White (fifth) scored his first top-five finish at Talladega; he tied his best finish of 2011.
• Kyle Busch finished ninth in his 100th career start.

With a wave-around and a free pass, Sauter got back on the lead lap and finished 15th, lessening the damage to his title chances.