Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 6 Globe Life Ford Mustang, looked poised to earn another top-10 finish in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Talladega Superspeedway before contact on the final lap sent the Roush Fenway Racing driver into the inside retaining wall. Wallace, who had overcome damage sustained in a multi-car incident on Lap 20, was running inside the top 10 before the incident occurred and ultimately was scored with a 13th-place finish.
“Our team fought hard and never gave up all race,” said Wallace. “We got in that deal there before the end of the first stage which is frustrating because it damaged our left front. But my guys never quit and we worked on it all day long to get in contention at the end. I’m not exactly sure what happened there on the backstretch but that was a pretty solid hit. I’m just proud of my guys on this Globe Life team and thank you to Globe Life for coming on board. We’ll get after it again in a couple weeks in Charlotte.”
Wallace took the green flag for the 113-Lap event from the 22nd position but quickly moved forward, gaining eight positions after one lap and joining the top-10 for the first time on Lap 6. Wallace continued to fight for position in the top 10 throughout Stage 1 until a multi-car incident down the back straightaway on Lap 20 damaged both the rear bumper and the left front of the Globe Life Ford. After pitting several times for repair, Wallace found himself off of the lead lap but drove his way into the free pass position by the completion of the stage on Lap 25.
The driver of the Globe Life Ford rode around toward the back of the lead pack for much of Stage 2, choosing to avoid any potential trouble. The decision paid off as Wallace finished the second stage in 20th.
When the final stage went green, Wallace and crew chief Seth Barbour chose to play a different pit strategy than several of the race leaders and stayed out on the track for as long as possible during the long green flag run. This call paid off as Wallace drove up to the second position before hitting pit road under green for fuel only on Lap 90. After losing touch with the lead pack following the stop an opportune caution on Lap 97 gave Wallace another change to press forward.
Wallace took the ensuing restart on Lap 102 from the fifth position and raced three and four-wide for much of the closing laps. Then, contact on the final lap coming off of the second corner sent the Globe Life Ford hard into the inside retaining wall. The damage prevented Wallace from making it to the finish line and as a result scored the Roush Fenway driver with a 13th-place finish.