Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. took the field school on dirt Wednesday night leading 97 of 150 laps and holding off a hard charging Kyle Larson to score the win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at the half mile dirt track at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg Oh. Wallace, driving a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck continued the domination for KBM; the team has now won eight of the 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck series races in 2014 and 11 of the last 15 dating back to last year.
Wallace took the lead from Larson with 19 to go. The duo battled for several laps, but Larson’s truck bounced off the wall several times, the final one with four laps to go finally slowed the truck and left Larson slowly rolling down the backstretch smoking; he finished 26th. Ron Hornaday who had run second much of the night retook that position, but Wallace was able to nearly coast across the line winning by just over five seconds.
The win was the second for Wallace in 2014 and the third of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.
“That's so cool - on the dirt at Eldora," a jubilant Wallace said in Victory Lane. "Really? Eldora?
Behind Hornaday, Ryan Blaney came home third, veteran Ken Schrader was fourth, and Ty Dillon came back from a NASCAR penalty and a lap down to finish fifth.
The race was divided into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps. Wallace won all three segments, staying out with the majority of the field during the final segment.
Erik Jones, with his first career pole, took the lead from the start as Jeb Burton fell into second. By lap 15, Burton was challenging for the lead, Hornaday was close behind in third. After an intense battle, Burton went by for the lead on lap 25; Jones began dropping back with a flat rear tire, he then spin bringing out the first caution on lap 27.
Burton led on the restart, Hornaday was second when the green fell on lap 32. Hornaday was able to get to the top and to the lead a lap later. Jones spun exiting turn 4 on lap 37 bringing out the second caution.
The green came out on lap 42 and Hornaday and Burton were side by side. The two exchanged the lead until Wallace was able to slide up behind Hornaday for second. Wallace began to fight for the lead and was able to power by for the top spot for the first time on lap 49. Ten laps later, Ty Dillon had fought his way forward and took over second from Hornaday.
The first of three competition cautions came out on lap 61 and ending the first segment. The field came in for stops. The entire field was stopped and everyone got ready for the next 50-lap segment.
Wallace led to the green on the outside with Ty Dillon falling into second. Caution four came out for debris as trucks were beating and banging throughout the field. The restart came on lap 70. Wallace led Hornaday and Dillon as behind them the entire track was covered by trucks.
Wallace led at the halfway point, Hornaday was second, Dillon third, Larson was fourth with Burton fifth. Wallace was able to stretch his lead out slightly as Dillon, Hornaday and Larson battled for second. Dillon and Larson got together and Larson spun on lap 85 he was able to continue; the caution, number five, didn’t come out until lap 87 when Jones lost another tire, Dillon too lost a tire from the Larson contact, and both pitted. Dillon’s team changed four tires and added fuel in defiance of NASCAR’s rules. NASCAR brought him back in and the team had to put two tires back on. NASCAR also penalized Dillon a lap for adding fuel during the stop.
The green came out on lap 99. Wallace was able to stretch out his lead but the battle behind for second involved four trucks. Hornaday was able to secure second as Larson and Burton fought for third. The second competition caution, the sixth of the race, came out on lap 110. The top nine stayed out, Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon were among those who pitted. Ty Dillon was able to get his lap back.
The restart for the final segment came on lap 113. Wallace led as the field fanned out behind him. Larson was able to move into third behind Hornaday. Larson quickly caught Hornaday and soon the two were fighting for the second spot. Larson got by on lap 120 and Burton looked at Hornaday for third. Up front Wallace had stretched his lead out to two seconds; Larson however began to reel him in. By lap 125 Larson had caught Wallace and the two began to contest the lead with Larson bouncing off the wall. A lap later, the seventh caution came out when Joey Knowles spun. Larson was credited with the lead.
The green came out with 19 to go and Wallace dove to the bottom and to the lead, Larson fell into a close second. Larson kept banging into the wall but remained within reach of the lead. In the final 10 laps Wallace was able to put a pad to his lead, but with five to go, Larson made one final run for the lead and got to Wallace’s bumper. Larson hit the wall hard with four laps to go allowing Wallace to keep his lead. With two to go, Larson’s truck finally gave up; he slowed allowing Hornaday to take second and Wallace to take the checkered flag.
"The coolest things about it,” Wallace said. “Is I came into this hoping we'd finish in the top-five.”
Larson was credited with 26th place.
"(I) Didn’t realize how stupid I was driving,” Larson said. “Sucks, but Darrell (Wallace Jr.) did a really good job. He was fast all day today and he ran close to the wall the whole time and never really hit it.”
John Hunter Nemechek finished an impressive sixth, Jeb Burton seventh, Johnny Sauter was eighth, Matt Crafton ninth and last year’s winner Austin Dillon was tenth.
With his third place finish, Blaney took over the championship points lead for the first time in his career. Crafton is second, Sauter third, Hornaday Jr. fourth and German Quiroga fifth.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond Pa. on Saturday August 2.