Darrell Wallace Jr. became the second African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race when he took the checkered flag in the 15th annual Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World truck series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Wendell Scott won in what is now the Sprint Cup series in 1963.
Wallace, who is running for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in NASCAR’s Camping World series, drove to victory in the No. 54 Toyota Care Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch. He is the second graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program to win this year.
"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 Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "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."
“It means everything,” Wallace said when addressing the media after the win. “This is an emotional one for me, especially to do it in Wendell Scott's backyard. I love to come in here to Martinsville. It's always good to me, and it finally paid off. My third trip here and I'm not even going to talk about the late model races. But I love coming here. The fans are always great and they always put on a great race here. Had to do some muscling there at the end and get around Ty (Dillon) and keep it away from (Kevin) Harvick. Dodged a few bullets during the race and this is awesome.”
Busch, who has had his share of wins in NASCAR both as a driver and an owner, said the win was a special one for him. “I mean, I'm happier for Darrell than for anybody, but this is certainly a monumental day and hopefully one that he'll remember for a long time and can cherish. The first one is always the most important one because it seems like they can just come right after that pretty easily.”