Darrell Wallace Jr. raced his way into NASCAR history books this weekend.
According to reports, the 20-year-old driver won first place at the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the first African American to win on NASCAR’s national level since Wendell Scott in 1963.
“This means everything,” the 20-year-old driver told reporters. “This is an emotional win for me, especially doing it in Wendell Scott’s backyard. I love coming here to Martinsville; it’s always good to me. It finally paid off. I think it’s my third trip here. I love coming here. The fans are great here.”
“Wallace, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, beat Jeb Burton into Turn 1 off a restart with five laps to go,” the Associated Press reports. “Wallace was never below sixth place and led a race-high 96 laps but needed to survive a final restart. Wallace chose the inside line for the reset and quickly pulled away from Burton.”
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France sent his congratulations to the new champ in a statement. “We congratulate Darrell Wallace Jr. on his first national series victory, one that will be remembered as a remarkable moment in our sport’s history,” he said. “Darrell’s success, following fellow NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson’s win earlier this season, is indicative of a youth and multicultural movement that bodes well for NASCAR’s future growth.”
Wallace, a “Drive for Diversity” graduate, said he hopes to be an inspiration for other young drivers of color.
“I want to be a role model and inspiration to the younger kids and just change the sport as a whole and for the better, and winning helps everything,” he said. “I think that’ll help kind of pave its own way there and hopefully get my name out there even more. That’s what I’ve been trying to do is to get my name out there to keep pushing (and) striving for kids younger than me to get in the sport.”
After his victory, Wallace tweeted a special message to fans: “We came. We saw. We conquered.”
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