Darrell Wallace Jr. called his fifth-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway “big” as it was the first in the history of 23XI Racing.
“A lot of confidence for myself, which is huge,” Wallace said. “It came down to fuel strategy there, but I appreciate Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief), J.R. (Houston, engineer), Freddie (Kraft, spotter), telling me what to do – 80 percent there, 60 percent here, the whole time. It got so annoying, but it worked out. That’s what it takes. It takes a team effort to pull off this.
“Great day for us. Great day for DraftKings – their first race is the first top-five for our team. That makes you want to re-sign, but all in all, really good day. Really good weekend for us. We knew that we had the speed. Bossman was here – MJ (Michael Jordan) was here. We had the whole staff out, so it was a good day. Good weekend.”
Wallace knew he wasn’t in the same position as Kyle Busch, who won the Pocono Mountains 350, so he focused on his own race. Wallace sat seventh with 20 laps to go. When numerous drivers were forced to pit for fuel in the final 10 laps, it aided an advantageous Wallace.
“It was a little bit tricky,” he said. “Perseverance. We got through it, and I’m proud of everybody.”
Constant pressure finally broke through.
Strongest weekend of the year. Lots of momentum heading into Road America. pic.twitter.com/Lv0tR3gQJu
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) June 27, 2021
Through the invert from Saturday’s race, Wallace started the day seventh on the grid. He earned points by placing fifth in the second stage, and Wallace jumped up two positions in the overall point standings into a tie for 19th with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Pocono is the best finish of the season for Wallace and his first top-five since last summer in Daytona. It is another step forward in the short history of 23XI Racing. The organization’s previous best finish was an 11th-place effort at Dover last month, and Wallace has four top-15 finishes in his last five races.
“We wanted (to be in) the playoffs when we started the season,” Wallace said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We know that we are in a hole, but it’s finishes like that, that we have to capitalize on the speed in our cars. Today shows what we can do. We’ve got to keep up the momentum.”