Darrell Wallace Jr. left the infield care center at Pocono Raceway upbeat and asking for a Coca-Cola after a vicious crash in Turn 1.
Wallace lost his brakes at high speed going down the 3,740-foot frontstretch and could do nothing but hang on as the No. 43 careened through the grass and back up the racetrack before slamming the outside wall. Wallace called it a hopeless situation to be in.
“Holy cow,” said Wallace. “The lap before I was holding off the 10 car [Aric Almirola] and went into [Turn] 1 and the pedal started really creeping fast to the floor, and I went, oh boy. So, I let him go by, and then back into 1 again I was pumping it up, making sure, a little courtesy pump, and whew, there she went. She blew up, too much heat.
“I should have stayed against the fence and used it to slow me down, I think Kasey [Kahne] did that here last year. Jimmie [Johnson] did kind of the same thing I did. That feeling going through the grass … you’re just like, hope and pray. Luckily we’re fine.”
Wallace took his time lowering the window net, which is a signal to the safety crews that a driver is okay, before gingerly getting out of the car. After sitting down next to his Chevrolet, Wallace walked on his own to the waiting ambulance.
The delay in putting down the window net was because Wallace had the breath knocked out of him.
“The EMTs were worried about me not letting the window net down as fast, and I was like, hell, that was the last thing I was thinking about,” Wallace said. “I was trying to catch my breath. And they were like, are you sure? I’m like, yeah. Never thought about letting the window net down until I was ready to get out.
“But I was OK. I remember everything. Did all the stuff in [the care center]. Banged my foot on the pedal [and] bit my cheek. Hardest hit I’ve had – holy hell. So that will go down in the record books. Unfortunate day. We were trying to [hold] some ground there and try to survive and didn’t go as planned.”