For the first time during the entire season, a driver not named Matt Crafton or Kyle Busch finally collected a checkered flag in a Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park.
That driver's name is Darrell Wallace Jr., who came away with his second victory in the truck series at the St. Louis track. Now Wallace and the entire CWTS field will likely have to contend with a field of Sprint Cup regulars at Kentucky for the UNOH 225.
Thursday night's lineup hasn't been announced via NASCAR.com at this point, but it won't just be full-time truck drivers on the track. With the Sprint Cup circuit in town for the Quaker State 400 on Sunday, expect a loaded field of premier series regulars competing at Kentucky.
Before the eighth CWTS race of the season gets underway in Kentucky, here's a look at the schedule, standings and preview for the UNOH 225.
|2014 CWTS Standings|
|Pos.||Driver||Points/Deficit||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
|3||Ron Hornaday Jr.||-13||0||2||5|
|7||John Wes Townley||-27||0||2||3|
|9||Darrell Wallace Jr.||-43||1||2||3|
UNOH 225 Information
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Kentucky
When: Thursday, June 26, 8 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Following his second win in a NASCAR series at Gateway, it appears Darrell Wallace Jr. is ready to emerge as a contender this season.
The man known by NASCAR fans as "Bubba" Wallace has been a trailblazer in the sport for the last few seasons. After the win at Gateway, Wallace noted the impact his driving might have on the sport, per Jonathan Lintner of The Louisville Courier-Journal:
It's got to be played up, because there's nobody there. NASCAR is trying to change the face of the sport in multiple ways – not only with African-Americans but Hispanics, youths, women. It's a big category NASCAR is really pushing, and I just happen to be the ambassador.
I have no problem doing that, and I know the ultimate goal is to go out and win races.
While Danica Patrick hasn't exactly gained her footing in the Sprint Cup series, it appears Wallace has a bright future in NASCAR. Next on his plate? Winning another race at Kentucky.
Lintner points out that when Wallace was 10 years old, he won a developmental race at the track. With his boss at Kyle Busch Motorsports likely entering the field yet again in Kentucky, Bubba has a chance to contend for another win against the dominant owner-driver.
The race at Gateway was a historic one for NASCAR at the track but was also huge for young faces in NASCAR, as David Caraviello of NASCAR.com notes:
Outside of the contention for first place, one blooming rivalry to watch over the next few weeks will be between German Quiroga and Erik Jones.
In the final laps of the Drivin' For Linemen 200, Quiroga spun Jones and ultimately ended his day. Jones' pit crew, who were in contention for the win at Gateway, ran down the pit boxes and confronted Quiroga's team.
The controversial finish was talked about following the race, as Quiroga finished second and Jones wound up 23rd after the wreck. Quiroga spoke about the incident, per Kelly Crandall of Popular Speed:
It’s really unfortunate what happened, (he’s) a Toyota truck and we were all battling really hard. He drove very deep into Turn 1 and then he got sideways in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2 and he kept on going sideways. Once we got to the straight he was still sideways and he was coming toward me and with how tight it is (there), if someone brakes everyone just runs over everybody.
It’s not an easy decision. It wasn’t a hard hit for us, fortunately the truck was fine, but it’s unfortunate what happened. I don’t feel good about it but it’s one of those deals where you’re involved and there’s nowhere to go.
Quiroga admitted fault but didn't exactly apologize for the accident, to say the least.
Jones is a young driver and has a budding Nationwide Series career ahead of him with Joe Gibbs Racing, so retaliation might not be on his mind—but it should be. With Busch likely taking back over behind the wheel of the No. 51 truck, Jones will have his chance to see Quiroga on the track soon.
While CWTS fans will have to wait for that rivalry to continue, the one between Busch and Crafton on the track will continue at Kentucky. Crafton is in search of his third win of the season, while Busch is looking for his fifth.
Meanwhile, points leader Johnny Sauter is simply hoping to notch his first victory of the season. Any of the three could come away with a win, which is what makes every race in the truck series intriguing.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: