Wallace Finishes 12th In Roush Fenway Daytona Debut
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2015) – In his first start with Roush Fenway Racing, Bubba Wallace found the lead for a total of 18 laps at Daytona International Speedway, the second highest of the day. Wallace and a strong No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang raced up front for the majority of the afternoon, before being collected in an accident with seven laps remaining. Team and driver battled hard to finish the day in 12th in the inaugural race for the XFINITY Series.
“Things went okay,” said Wallace. “We got our Ford EcoBoost Mustang out front, so that was good, but it just didn’t pan out there in the middle of the race. It’s a bummer because my guys worked super hard to earn a better finish than this. I’m excited about our season. It ended up being a decent points day for us. We didn’t wreck out early. We missed some big ones. We’ll go to Atlanta with our Mustang and be ready to win.”
With NASCAR’s adjusted qualifying format on Saturday, Wallace’s qualifying group only completed one lap during its session. The rookie of the year contender lined up 28th to start the 120-Lap season-opener.
Wallace wasted little time powering his No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang to the front of the pack, taking the lead for the first time on Lap 13. Ty Dillon and Wallace continued to pass the lead back-and-forth for the next 34 laps, with Wallace pacing the field for 18 of them.
Crew chief Chad Norris called Wallace down pit road from first place for his first scheduled stop of the day under the green flag on Lap 40. Overall, Wallace was happy with the handling of his Mustang, so Norris opted for four tires and fuel.
Under the next run, Wallace was shuffled back in the draft, settling into 16th as he began to work his way forward again.
His next green flag pit stop came on Lap 77, for four more tires and fuel. Three laps after Wallace returned to the track, green flag pit stops were interrupted with the first caution flag of the day, leaving the No. 6 one lap down to the leaders.
Wallace was in position for the free pass to get back on the lead lap. Norris took the opportunity to call his rookie driver back down pit road to top off on fuel.
The first “big-one” of the day occurred on Lap 94, with Wallace making an evasive move down pit road to avoid the accident. While under caution, Wallace felt a vibration in his tires and decided to come to pit road to get four fresh Goodyear tires.
Another several-car accident with seven laps remaining collected the No. 6 Ford Mustang. Wallace visited pit road multiple times under caution for the team to work on the damage. Wallace would ultimately cross the line in 12th.
“Congrats to Ryan [Reed] and Ford and the whole Roush Fenway camp,” said Wallace. “I’m excited to be a part of this team. We’re showcasing what we’re all about and how much work was put on in the off-season and we’ll build off this. We’ll come up with a game plan, but that’s our one wreck for the year. We’ve got to minimize those.”
1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015
2:00 p.m. ET on FOXSPORTS1 and PRN
Complete Race Results:
2015 Season Total: 7th with 33 points