Darrell Wallace Jr. is hoping that a ninth-place finish in Michigan will help his Richard Petty Motorsports team in the big picture.
“Everybody say a prayer for us,” Wallace said on NBCSN after the race. “There’s a big deal on the line right now, and this could help so much. I have yet to check my phone to see the status of it, but this will send us over the top if we can get it done.
“It’s been a lot of hard work off the racetrack for my team and everybody involved, to make things better, and that’s what we’re trying to do. So, putting solid runs together and having awesome restarts all day — this is only going to help the effort. I’m definitely smiling.”
Wallace is in a contract year with Petty and has received his share of silly season attention. It was revealed last weekend that Andrew Murstein, owner of the No. 43 Chevrolet, has offered Wallace a share in the team if he re-signs. The 26-year-old is believed to have other options available, though, and he’s exploring them all before deciding on 2021.
Kevin Harvick won the Firekeepers Casino 400, and Wallace made his presence known on restarts when choosing the inside lane to gain track position. Wallace has four top-10 finishes this season, which is a single-season best for him in the Cup Series.
“A solid day for us and our Victory Junction Chevrolet,” said Wallace. “I appreciate everybody back at the shop. I know this whole COVID-19 deal has been tough. I haven’t been able to go to the shop and show my appreciation (for) how much they really work and make our cars better week in and week out.
“It’s been fun. We’re in the middle of ‘silly season’ right now, so my mind is there, it’s here. So, to come out with a solid top-10 finish is positive.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I was not happy with the car, but I think that’s the racer mentality: I don’t know if Harvick was happy about his car, either. We always strive to be better, but all in all, it was a solid day. The Choose Rule? Good job, NASCAR. That was fun. That was cool.”