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Wallace proud of finishing second to Busch

June 26, 2014, Kenny Bruce,

Wallace Jr. will compete for JGR in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona next weekend

SPARTA, Ky. – Darrell Wallace Jr. was best in class, and when one class consists solely of team owner/teammate Kyle Busch, well, best among the rest isn’t so bad.

A winner in St. Louis a week ago, Wallace led 34 of the first 35 laps of Thursday night’s UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway. He finished second.


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Busch led 91 laps en route to his 40th career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Sprint Cup Series regular has made five starts this season for his Kyle Busch Motorsports team; he has won all five. 

"He had it down," Wallace, 20, said of his team owner. "He knows down to the second when things are going to change. He's just that good. 

"No excuses, but he's got all that Nationwide practice yesterday, another Nationwide practice before the race. So he knows this stuff, he knows what to expect. And it doesn't hurt that he's a Cup veteran. Running against that and finishing second … I think that's the first time I've finished second to him. That shows a lot."

A late-race caution provided Wallace and a handful of others one final shot at reeling in Busch, but when the green flag re-appeared for an eight-lap shootout, Busch set sail.

At the stripe, he led Wallace by 1.844 seconds. Ryan Blaney (Brad Keselowski Racing), Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing) and Brad Keselowski completed the top five.

"We fired off OK; it's so hard to tell, because he's so good, if he was just toying with me at the beginning," Wallace said of racing Busch for the lead in the early stages of the race. "Because we checked away and he just stayed right there with me. And the second I get behind he, he just drove away. That's experience and I'll remember that. And hope to be that good one day. I'm just thankful for the opportunity. It's been an up and down year, but man it's been up lately. So we'll keep that going."

Points leader Johnny Sauter finished ninth, and remains atop the standings. He leads defending series champion Matt Crafton, who finished sixth, by eight points. 

It was the second runner-up finish of the year for Wallace, and his fourth top 10.

Now a two-time winner in the series – he scored his first win last season at Martinsville Speedway -- Wallace said winning, and contending for wins, eases some of the weekly pressure. 

"I'm just relaxed, that's the biggest thing," he said. "I think this year has really been a stress-tester and I think I've passed. … Just different stuff we've went through. I've gotten frustrated at times, but at the end of the day we were fast. You can't help what's out of your hands, you just roll on with it; you can't sulk.

"So I come to the track excited to be here and ready to go win another one."

Next up for Wallace? He’ll fly to Los Angles on Saturday to attend the BET awards. A week later, he's scheduled to make his second Nationwide Series start of the season when the series heads to Daytona International Speedway.


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