Darrell Wallace Jr. hopes restrictor-plate luck continues to be with him come Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wallace, of course, kicked off his rookie season in dramatic and emotional fashion by finishing second in the season-opening Daytona 500. This weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tackles its second plate race of the year.
When the Richard Petty Motorsports driver was asked during his pre-race media availability if the Daytona performance gives him any enthusiasm toward Sunday, Wallace said he wished it did.
“But I mean, hell, we missed, what, four wrecks in Daytona,” Wallace said. “Hopefully, we still have some of that good grace on our side for this race this weekend. But you just never know what’s going to happen and that is the really bad, not fun, thing about superspeedway racing.
“Everything else is fun, but when you are sitting there riding along and the next thing you know you are head-on in the fence, you’re like, well – I don’t say ‘sorry’ because I didn’t do anything. I was just here, I was gathered up.”
Wallace will not be running the same car he did in Daytona. The car is being included in the “Property from the Collection of Richard Petty,” which will be solid in the Julien’s Auctions taking place on May 12. Wallace offered a smile and small chuckle about selling the car he described as “really good.”
Regardless, Wallace said he is still pumped up for the weekend. He’s also trying to keep an open mind about what type of a race it will be as well as his chances. However, he does expect the same chaos that was seen at Daytona, with eight cautions and 25 cars running at the finish, albeit not all of them in one piece.
“You are not safe anywhere, look at Daytona. Wrecks happen at the front, the middle and the back,” said Wallace. “Freddie [Kraft, his spotter] up top made good calls on where to go guiding me through the wrecks and that helped out a lot, but I mean, it’s really hard to say. You are just trying to bide time and people just get anxious and ready to jump the gun way too early and that’s when things happen.
“Don’t get me wrong, I might sound like I’m downplaying it bad, but I’m excited to get back in the race car and go back at it again. The experience we had at Daytona does bring a little bit of confidence. I’m just trying to remember what in the heck I did. I don’t know, I was just out there cruising.”
Daytona was the site of Wallace’s career-best finish and he has since added an additional top 10 this season at Texas.