Race Weekend Central

Darrell Wallace Jr. Enters Pocono Raceway with Pressure to Perform

Darrell Wallace Jr. always wanted this day to come. He knew it would come at some point, but he didn’t think the pieces of the puzzle would come into place so easily.

When Aric Almirola’s injury was revealed to the public, rumors swirled about the Roush Fenway Racing XFINITY Series driver taking the helm of the No 43 Ford. Following Regan Smith’s stint in the car, it was time for a change.

Richard Petty Motorsports is opting to go with Wallace, who will become the first African American since Bill Lester to start a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race since 2006 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

“A lot of people want to see how I will run and how I will do against the Cup guys,” Wallace said in a press conference. “In year’s past, there was a lot of pressure on myself. Today, I feel great. I feel great. I’ve been in the car and I don’t have to overdrive the car. I don’t have to do anything special. For us, it’s just to get the balance right.”

As Wallace sat in the media room, his calm presence took over. Relaxed and ready to roll, he is clearly ready to get the weekend going.

But with pressure on his shoulders, knowing that his No. 6 team is closing its doors after Pocono’s XFINITY Series contest, it is crucial for the Alabama native to perform well.

“We decided to pick the weekend with the least amount of practice possible,” Wallace said. “We only get one session today and one on Saturday. There are a lot of big factors going into this. As far as pressure, there’s a little bit but nothing big.”

With Almirola’s return date unknown, Wallace understands that each opportunity in the Cup Series is one he needs to make the most of.

About the author

Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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Bobby DK

I’m thinking if Darrell does well, and Aric comes back 100% healthy, someone’s going to be quaking in her racing boots.

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