CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2016) – Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 6 Leidos Ford Mustang, overcame early damage to battle back to a 20th-place finish in the rain-postponed NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon – advancing into the second round of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for the championship.
“Today was a long day but I’m excited that we were able to make it into the next round of the Chase,” said Wallace after the race. “I hate that we damaged our nose on the start but my guys never gave up all race long on this Leidos Mustang and we were able to do enough to make it to the next round. There’s some things we will need to do to get better but we’ve got a blank slate now heading into Kansas and we’ll see what we can do to try to lock ourselves into that final four.”
Wallace took the green flag for the 200-Lap event originally scheduled for Friday night from the 15th position after qualifying was cancelled due to rain, forcing NASCAR to set the field from practice speeds on Thursday, per the rule book. Unfortunately, contact on the initial start of the event badly damaged the nose of the Leidos Mustang, affecting the cars handling throughout the afternoon.
Crew chief Seth Barbour got the opportunity to make repairs to the nose damage during a caution on Lap 25. After the repairs were completed Wallace returned to the track in 29th but quickly worked his way up to 23rd before the Leidos Mustang began to shift toward the loose side in the corners.
This handling condition persisted throughout much of the middle portion of the event as Wallace did all he could to maintain his track position knowing that every point mattered toward advancing in the Chase.
In the closing stages, spotter Freddie Kraft notified Wallace prior to the final restart of the afternoon on Lap 188 that he needed to get around the No. 44 car as quick as he could because he really needed that one position. The driver of the Leidos Mustang charged into the first corner and utilized a three-wide move on the restart to race by the No. 44 and take the checkered flag in the 20th position.
With the result, Wallace advanced to the second round of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for the championship by one point.
Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the first race of Round Two of the Chase at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 15.