The last time and only time an African-American driver visited victory lane in a NASCAR national touring series was 1963 when Wendell Scott took the win at Jacksonville. On Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, Darrell Wallace Jr. became the second.
Wallace, a NASCAR drive for diversity graduate, led 96 laps in his Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra. The win was Wallace’s 11th top-10 finish this season and second top-10 at Martinsville.
NASCAR implemented the driver for diversity program in an effort give more opportunities to minorities who want to pursue a career in NASCAR. Though several drivers have worked through the program, Wallace is the first driver to find success in a national touring series.
NASCAR chairman and CEO, Brian France commented on Wallace’s victory,” 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 continued, “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’s success came early on when he drove in the drive for diversity program. He won Sunoco rookie of the year honor in the K&N Pro East Series in 2010. He then backed that up with a second place finish in the championship standings in 2011.
In 2012, Wallace has compiled 11 top-10’s and five top-5 finishes in 18 starts in the Camping World Truck Series. He also started four Nationwide Series starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, finishing in the top-10 in three of those starts.
An emotional Wallace was asked what this win means to him, “It means everything. This is an emotional win for me. Especially to do it in Wendell Scott’s backyard and I love coming here to Martinsville, it’s always good to me and it finally paid off.”