Darrell Wallace Jr. rebounded from a rough outing the previous week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and re-entered the championship picture with a win in the inaugural Jegs 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Columbus Motor Speedway.
Wallace, originally from Mobile, Ala., passed pole-sitter Max Gresham on Lap 35 and remained out front the remainder of the 150-lap event for his second win of the season and fourth of his career. He previously powered the No. 6 U.S. Army Toyota to Victory Lane in the inaugural K&N Pro Series East event at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in April.
Wallace’s triumph also gave Revolution Racing and the Drive for Diversity program its fourth win in nine races this season. Sergio Peña, who finished 15th at Columbus after a late-race spin, also has a pair of wins.
It wasn’t a breeze for Wallace, however, as eventual runner-up Alex Bowman made sure he hit his marks over the final half of the race. Bowman got to within a car-length of Wallace on multiple occasions, but Wallace was strong enough to hold off the challenger.
“Alex Bowman gave me a run for my money there,” Wallace said. “He had a good run on me and I just want to thank him so much for running me clean. I got into him at Bowman Gray but we talked about it earlier and it’s all good.”
As it was, Bowman picked his career-best finish in second with Brett Moffitt third and Matt DiBenedetto fourth. Daniel Suárez also registered a career-best showing in fifth.
Suárez, a rookie from Mexico, has improved his personal best in each of his three starts since joining X Team Racing mid-season.
Chase Elliott enjoyed a solid run in sixth while Gresham settled for seventh after leading the first 34 laps. Rookies Dylan Presnell and Cody Hodgson, and veteran Eddie MacDonald brought home the top 10.
Moffitt’s third podium finish in a row – and second after rallying from a lap down in the race – gained 14 points on Gresham in the season standings while Gresham’s streak of seven-consecutive top fives came to an end. Gresham will still take an 80-point lead into the next race at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Sept. 5.
After finishing 30th on July 15 at New Hampshire, Wallace’s win moved him up to third, 100 points back of Gresham.
Four of the top 10 drivers in the season standings with three races remaining are rookies, including Elliott, who improved to 10th at Columbus following his third top-10 finish in a row.
The Jegs 150 will air on SPEED on Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. ET.