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September 7, 2017

Darrell Wallace Jr. to drive in NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The season isn’t over for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace just yet.

Wallace, 23, returns to NASCAR’s XFINITY Series next week at Chicagoland Raceway where he is scheduled to drive the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi DenBeste Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports.

It will be the 13th XFINITY Series start of the season for Wallace, who ran 12 races with Roush Fenway Racing earlier this year before officials shuttered the team due to a lack of sponsorship.

Following that setback, Wallace drove four races in the iconic No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports while that team’s driver, Aric Almirola, recovered from injury.

He also has one Camping World Truck Series start this season, at Michigan, which resulted in a win.

“It’s been going in a lot of different directions,” Wallace said of his season Thursday at RPM. “But it’s taught me a lot. Not only about myself but about the sport and how to go about it, carry the right attitude through whichever way you’re being pulled.

“We’ve been able to make the most of every opportunity this year. We were capitalizing in the XFINITY Series before it shut down; we were fourth in points and having some really good runs. I felt like we were knocking on the door for our first win.

“Then the 43 (opportunity) came about, kept improving each and every race and then the Michigan truck race comes about and we win that.”

The Chicagoland opportunity came about, in part, because Wallace has worked with Nickelodeon officials in the past — a year ago he ran a paint scheme based on the character Shredder from the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles program. This year his car will feature Nickelodeon Slime.

This year the Turtles are once again getting top billing — the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 17 is the Tales of the Turtles 400.

Other drivers with related paint schemes for the race weekend are Matt DiBenedetto and Jeffrey Earnhardt (MENCS), Wallace and Matt Tifft (XFINITY), and John Hunter Nemechek and Jennifer Jo Cobb (Camping World Truck Series).

Wallace, a six-time winner in the Truck Series, said this most recent opportunity “came together fairly quick” and he’s hopeful it will lead to more time behind the wheel.

“I think so,” he said. “You never know what can happen after that.

“If we have a really good, strong race, we could win that thing. That’s our only goal.”

The Biagi DenBeste Racing organization runs a limited schedule in the XFINITY Series. Almirola has won two of the organization’s three career victories — at Daytona in 2016 and ’17.