Submitted by Zane Patrick
It’s one win for Darrell Wallace Jr., but what will it mean for other African-American race car drivers — present and future?
The answer to that question might not come for years. Nonetheless, NASCAR wasted no time Saturday in hailing Wallace’s on-track success at Martinsville Speedway in southern Virginia.
“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,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.
Wallace took the Kroger 200 on the racing circuit’s Camping World Truck Series, which is on NASCAR’s third tier.
Still, it is notable given that no African-American has won any NASCAR national series race since December 1, 1963, when Wendell Scott became the first ever to win a race at NASCAR’s top level, in a victory at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
Scott, a Virginia native who served in the Army during World War II, raced in more than 500 races during his career — finishing in the top five 20 times, though that would be his only victory.
Plus, the 20-year-old Wallace isn’t just any driver. He’s a highly touted graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity, having been featured in numerous local and national publications.
The Mobile, Alabama, native — who lives in Concord, North Carolina — won in his 19th start on Camping World Truck circuit. In 10 of his first 18 starts, he finished in the top 10.
Shortly after the Martinsville race ended, Wallace — using his twitter handle @BubbaWallace — reveled in the victory.
He wrote: “We Came. We Saw. We Conquered.”