Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Darrell Wallace Jr. took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the first African-American driver to win an upper-tier NASCAR race in nearly 50 years; Wendell Scott was the first to do so, on December 1st, 1963. The driver of the No. 54 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra led the final 49 laps on his way to KBM’s fifth win of the season.
"This (win) means everything," said Wallace Jr., who led three times for a race-high 96 laps. "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 and we always put on great races here. I had to do some muscling there at the end and get around Ty (Dillon) and keep away from (Kevin) Harvick, so we dodged a few bullets in the race and this is awesome. This is good for not only myself and the team, (but for) Kyle, Samantha, Jerry (Baxter, crew chief), Toyota, everyone involved this is big. I had so much confidence coming into this race, and I told my guys that I did, and I told everybody that asked if I was going to win I said, 'Hell yeah' every time. So, it was, 'No, maybe we're going to try,' this one was, 'For sure,' and we capitalized. This means a lot."
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin, in the KBM No. 51 Jordan Brand Tundra, led 65 laps on the day and was in contention for a third-straight victory until spinning on Lap 121 and falling back to 21st on the restart. Hamlin did recover for a sixth-place finish behind Wallace Jr., Brendan Gaughan, Jeb Burton, Ben Kennedy and Ryan Blaney.
KBM driver Joey Coulter, in the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Tundra, improved from his 22nd-place starting position to finish 12th.
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