Chevy Racing–NASCAR–Daytona–CAN AM Duel #1–Bubba Wallace

FEBRUARY 15, 2018


DAYTONA, Fla. – Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 43 Click n’ Close Camaro ZL1, finished in third place to lead four Team Chevy drivers in the Top 10 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am Duel #1 at Daytona International Speedway Thursday night. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Camaro ZL1 ran in the top 10 for most of the race before finishing sixth.

Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s/Cessna Camaro ZL1 finished ninth, and Chris Buescher, No. 37 Kleenex Camaro ZL1, ended up 10th.

Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Camaro ZL1 started on the pole and purposely dropped to the back of the field en route to a 14th-place showing. Two-time Duels winner Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Camaro ZL1 started second but wrecked on Lap 9, ending his night in 19th place.


THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our third‑place finisher, Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 43 Click ‘n Close Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports.

It seemed like you were holding out mid pack throughout most of the race, biding your time, waiting to make your move. Talk about the decision you made at the end of the race to start going for it and really walk us through the end there.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Yeah, let me start off by saying I had a bodyguard walk me from the car to here. His name was Richard Petty. I have never seen him that excited before. That was the coolest thing. Him coming up, huge hug. Sunglasses were off. Got to see how much he was truly excited about that.

So that is probably the highlight of the night, better than finishing third. Just seeing how pumped he was, the words he said that were definitely words of encouragement.

From the drop of the green flag, we had kind of a pack made up. We were going to ride, get to the top as soon as we could. That’s what we did. Every time the top prevailed at restarts.

Our Click ‘n Close Camaro was decent all night. I don’t know enough about these races to say what I really need. But we kept all four tires underneath us, kept it off the fence, kept it off other cars. I’d say all in all it was a good day.

That last restart, I was pretty proud of Ryan for taking the bottom there, stop doing all that team stuff. Logano didn’t like it. I gave Ryan a good shot there. I think I gave him too big of a shot. But it was a good race back to the line. I just moved up a little bit too late. Joey and I said we both would have wrecked if I went up any higher at the end.

All in all, came home third. It’s a good start for our Daytona 500.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: I’ve seen you race before. You’re not anybody’s friend (smiling).

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Made it a 1‑2 finish for the boss.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: I haven’t been there in a while.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: We’re happy with top fives lately.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open the floor for questions.

Q. Bubba, I heard Joey say, I assume tongue‑in‑cheek, that you and Blaney might as well be teammates out there.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: We did. Had to give him a shot.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: He’s my little brother, I had to.

Q. My question is, was it deliberate you gave Blaney that shot or that is who was there?

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: That’s who was there. I would expect the same from Joey. If I was leading, he was third, I would expect the same amount of shot to do that. I’m not going to not shove anybody just ’cause who they are.

My plan was to push him out there, get clear of the 22 and 1, have somewhat of a run. The 22 did a good enough job of stalling me out. Finally got clear, got back around me.

No matter who it is, if I’m third, I’m going to push you all I can.

Q. Any reason to believe a Team Penske car is not going to win the 500?

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Don’t get questions like these in the other series. These are crazy. This is new for me.

Q. Bubba, what did Richard Petty say to you when he was walking with you? How did you feel up there, a rookie contending for the win at the end?

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: He was, All right, Bud, good job. A big bear hung from the King was awesome. He was just proud. Good to see his car was running up front where it needs to be. Then we started talking about who was where at the end, Joey got the tow, the push, got back around us. All in all, he was so proud. You could really tell and see his emotion.

Really had to be there to feel it. Definitely made you feel good walking in here. Felt like we just won the race, as proud as he was.

But for the rookie stuff, that’s just a steppingstone. We still got a race to get through now. Drew had come over, Nice job, you’re starting seventh for the 500.

I’m like, All right, doesn’t mean much because we have 500 miles to go.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Full wrap, then he walked like this all the way back.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: That ain’t hard to do (smiling).

Q. Bubba, first time with the extended time in the car when it’s your car. Does it give you confidence, this sort of performance? Do you have to temper expectations a little bit still?

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Yeah, no, I’m still learning. That last restart, I legit thought I would get put three‑wide from the 41, just from experience. I did my best to hold him off. Then from experience there coming to the line, it was just a rookie delay. Knowing that the 22 is coming off of four, get up there.

I think he may have had a big run, could have went around me. Looked like something at Go Pro Motorplex if I would have pulled up.

For me, I’m just going to keep learning. Open the notebook all night from figuring out these tough questions I’m getting asked to racing out on the track.

Q. Bubba, what does this do for your confidence about the Daytona 500? Surely this is the way you want to go into the race, feel going and optimistic.

DARRELL WALLACE JR.: Yeah, for sure. For me, I think younger me, I would be bouncing off the walls, just being ready to climb in for the 500, not thinking, Okay, we have a lot more practice to go, then we have to get through 500 miles of it.

Right now, I’m just like, great, got through tonight. Didn’t get in any wrecks, didn’t make any dumb moves. Hopefully earned some respect from the veterans out there.

It’s a big reset button on Sunday. Still a lot of work left to be done before we climb in. Just so proud of my guys, what they brought to the racetrack, what they’re bringing as far as attitude‑wise to the racetrack. Sure, as hell is fun to be around.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on your run tonight. Good luck on Sunday in The Great American Race.