Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 6 Leidos Ford Mustang, ran inside the top 10 throughout all three stages of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday afternoon, ultimately recording a sixth-place finish. The finish is Wallace’s third straight sixth-place finish and moved him to fifth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings.
“It was such a good day,” said Wallace. “It was fun. It is fun coming back to the racetrack and having speed, being able to do something with it. Today we were a sixth-place car and that is where we rode but I will take that. It is better. Top-10’s are what we need to do. We are off to a really good start. We need to keep our emotions in check but our Leidos Mustang was pretty good today. We are knocking on the door. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but we like where we are heading and we will go have some fun in California.”
Wallace took the green flag for the 200-Lap event from the seventh position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Saturday morning. The driver of the Leidos Mustang maintained his top-10 track position throughout Stage 1, never running worse than ninth during the stage that was only slowed one time for a caution on Lap 11. Running lap times consistent with the leaders Wallace took the green-checkered flag to end Stage 1 in the seventh position.
After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment in-between stages Wallace took the green flag for Stage 2 from seventh on Lap 70. The Roush Fenway Racing driver continued to fight for position inside the top 10 throughout Stage 2 before taking the green-checkered in seventh on Lap 120.
The driver of the Leidos Mustang took the green flag for the final stage in the fifth position after pitting for four tires and another chassis adjustment at the completion of Stage 2. In the early laps of the final stage Wallace was shuffled back to ninth after racing three-wide for several laps following a Lap 155 caution period. Wallace wasted little time recovering the lost track position, moving back into seventh after making a three-wide move off of Turn 4 before the caution came out once again on Lap 167.
Wallace took the ensuing restart in seventh but quickly worked his way back up to sixth before a flurry of late race cautions. In the end, Wallace took the checkered flag in the sixth position, his third-consecutive top-six finish and his third top-10 in the first four races of 2017.
Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is Fontana, Calif. on Saturday, March 25.