Kenny Wallace narrowly missed earning his first top-five finish of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season in Friday night’s Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway after a late race miscommunication resulted in a penalty for pitting too early in the No. 09 American Ethanol Toyota. A three-time NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) winner at the famed Virginia short-track, Wallace and the RAB Racing with Brack Maggard team took the 13th position after running in the top-five for the majority of the 250-lap event.
Returning to one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit, Wallace had a good feeling about the weekend and about the solid performances he has been having with his RAB Racing team. Wallace, posted speeds quick enough for ninth during the only scheduled NNS practice session Friday morning. When qualifying concluded Friday afternoon, Wallace climbed two spots to seventh on the speed charts to earn his best starting position of the 2011 season.
Sporting the black and green American Ethanol paint scheme for the second time this season, Wallace and the RAB Racing team improved five positions over the opening 60 laps to the second position. By lap 150, Wallace had dropped back to the sixth position after the race saw a stretch of green flag racing. With 50 laps remaining in the race and only one caution, pit strategy and fuel mileage became focal points for the RAB Racing team.
When the second caution of the night came out in the final five laps, Wallace was scored one lap down in the sixth position. Choosing to pit to for tires, the team brought the No. 09 Toyota down pit road with the lap leaders instead of with the lap-down cars. The pit road miscommunication ultimately resulted in a penalty for the No. 09, which forced Wallace to drop to the tail-end of the cars also one lap down. Wallace restarted with two laps to go, taking the 13th position and earning the team its fifth top-15 finish in nine events.