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2014 Kroger 250: Wallace Jr. second in return to Martinsville

Darrell Wallace Jr. leads the field to green at Martinsville
Darrell Wallace Jr. leads the field to green at Martinsville
NASCAR via Getty Images: Robert Laberge

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Darrell Wallace Jr. proved strong once again at Martinsville Speedway, but not strong enough to get past Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 winner Matt Crafton. Wallace Jr., in the No. 54 Toyota Tundra, picked up his historic first win last fall at Martinsville, but came up just shy of victory lane in the rain-delayed race.

Wallace Jr. started on pole after rain washed out qualifying on Saturday, and later on the race, which was pushed back to Sunday after the Sprint Cup Series race. Wallace Jr. spent much of the race in the top five, leading five times for 34 laps in his runner-up finish.

“We finished second. That’s so frustrating - I hate finishing second,” said Wallace Jr. on the KBM website. “We had such a good #1 for Everyone Sales Event Toyota Tundra. We just couldn’t get the forward drive off. We were solid entry through center and I could run over them, I just couldn’t get off the corner and I think that’s what got us. We caught some lucky breaks there at the end on the restarts. I had to use the bumper to the 5 (John Wes Townley) to keep us in third and lucked up because we got the caution on the next lap. I knew when the first green-white-checkered got away from me that I knew what I had to do and just could not get off the corner. I just had no right-rear grip. That’s alright - I’ll take second after Daytona. It’s a good point’s day. Kyle (Busch, team owner) said to come here and start our season here and wax them. We started our season here, but we didn’t wax them, but we’re making a lot of ground. Congrats to Matt Crafton and the Toyota Racing group - it’s really great to see a Toyota teammate win.”

Erik Jones, in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for KBM, started fourth in the race and had a top-five finish within reach late in the race before he got turned by Johnny Sauter on the first green-white-checkered restart. The KBM pit crew got Jones back on the track for the second G-W-C attempt, but Jones ended up with a disappointing 18th-place finish.

"I think it's pretty clear what happened - we just got wrecked and I'm not sure why," said Jones. "It's unfortunate - we ran up front most of the day and had our ToyotaCare Tundra in a position for a solid top-five finish. We made some good adjustments throughout the race and the guys had fast pit stops, we just didn't get the finish we deserved."

Ben Kennedy finished third, followed by Sauter and Ryan Blaney. Timothy Peters, German Quiroga, Ben Rhodes, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Brian Ickler rounded out the top 10.

The Camping World Truck Series has another long gap in races, not returning to the track until May 9th at Kansas Speedway. Team owner/driver Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51, joining Wallace Jr. Keep up with the action at www.kylebuschmotorsports.com.

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