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After a tight battle at the front, Darrell Wallace Jr. wrestled the lead away from Max Gresham for the final time on Lap 79 and held on to win the inaugural Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond International Raceway.

Wallace, from Mobile, Ala., gained the third victory in just his 13th career start in the K&N Pro Series East. He took the lead from Gresham for the first time on Lap 55, and the two later swapped it following a restart on Lap 78, and for the decisive time on Lap 79.

“We just had to be patient, and be there at about halfway,” Wallace said. “[Max] Gresham was pretty strong, and I think we just a little bit better car and a better line, and we just took it away from him.”

Wallace pilots the No. 6 U.S. Army Toyota for Revolution Racing and Drive for Diversity. He gained two wins as a rookie in 2010, and has finished in the top 10 in all but three of his career starts.

Brett Moffitt wound up second with Corey LaJoie, Gresham and Alex Bowman in the top five. For LaJoie, it was his fifth career top-10 finish, all of which have come at tracks in which NASCAR’s national series compete.

“[Kevin] Harvick came up and talked to me before the race and gave me tips on the line,” LaJoie said. “I can’t tell my speed secrets, but another caution and we might have had it. He gave me some really useful tips that I didn’t even pick up on in practice. I didn’t realize what to do, so I really appreciate that.”

For Bowman, it was his third top-10 finish in as many starts to begin his K&N Pro Series career.

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The rest of the top 10 was Jason Bowles, Michael Cherry, Ryan Blaney, Sergio Peña and Matt DiBenedetto.

The Blue Ox 100 marked the K&N Pro Series East debuts for Blaney, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dave Blaney, and action sports superstar Travis Pastrana. Pastrana finished 33rd in the event.

With the win, Wallace now leads the season standings after three races by 26 points on teammate Peña. Wallace ended up leading a race-high 55 laps with Gresham the other 45.

The race was slowed by just two cautions. There was a 1:48 red flag delay for rain. It can be seen on SPEED on Thursday, May 19.

The K&N Pro Series East will next be in action when it is joined by the K&N Pro Series West in the annual East-West Challenge presented by Tompkins Industries at Iowa Speedway on May 21.

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