Talladega, AL – Mike Wallace claimed his first win in the Cola 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wallace, a Nationwide Series regular, got a lot of pushing help from his Kevin Harvick Inc. teammate, Ron Hornaday Jr., to lead 54 of the 94 laps. Both drivers were hooked up in a two-truck tandem for most of the race at the 2.66- mile superspeedway.
The 52-year-old Wallace substituted for Elliott Sadler in KHI's No.33 Chevrolet. Sadler was scheduled to drive the truck, but his wife, Amanda, is expecting their second child, which prompted the substitution earlier this week.
"Ron Hornaday is an incredible and unselfish individual, because he could have gone for the win," said Wallace, who crossed the finish line 0.06 seconds ahead of Hornaday. "We were sideways at one point."
Wallace and his wife, Carla, had planned on celebrating their wedding anniversary this weekend, before he received a phone call from team co-owner Kevin Harvick.
"I have to thank Kevin and DeLana Harvick and everybody at KHI," Wallace noted. "It's been so long since I've won a race, and nobody knows how much this means to me."
Wallace had not won a race in any one of NASCAR's three national series since July 2004 at Daytona. His most recent truck win came in 2000 at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, CA.
He is now a five-time race winner in the truck series.
Since taking over driving duties in KHI's No.2 truck, Hornaday has won at Kentucky and Las Vegas and finished second at Talladega.
"It's been fun driving this No.2 truck; this is what it's all about," he said.
James Buescher finished third, followed by Ricky Carmichael and Jason White. Chevrolet swept the top-five positions.
Points leader Austin Dillon rebounded from a penalty in the closing laps to finish seventh. Dillon had been running fourth prior to the last caution, but NASCAR penalized him for not maintaining proper speed during the caution. He had to drop to the tail end of the lead lap for the final restart with two laps to go.
"I shut [the engine] off to save gas when I released fourth gear, and the thing that matters is I got it started up before I got to the start/finish line, and I thought I got all of my positions back," Dillon said. "The truck never stopped. It was rolling. If [NASCAR] can show me where I completely stopped and lost 20 positions...they can't, I don't think. I'll be waiting to see it."
Dillon now holds a three-point advantage over Buescher. Johnny Sauter fell 14 points behind after his 15th-place finish. Sauter was involved in an accident with his ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton on lap 36. He spent two laps on pit road for repairs.
Hornaday moved to within 16 points of Dillon, while Timothy Peters fell 42 markers out of the lead following his 23rd-place run.
Just three races remain -- Martinsville (October 29), Texas (November 4) and Homestead (Nov. 18).