Darrell Wallace Jr. made history on Saturday by winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace is the second African-American driver to win a national NASCAR series race, and the first to do so in the Truck Series.
The 20-year-old development driver was thrilled with his win and shed tears in Victory Lane as he celebrated the event with his team. Wallace is a graduate of the sport’s Drive for Diversity, an initiative that was started by the sanctioning body in 2004 to encourage minorities and women who want to succeed in NASCAR.
By the way Wallace took the checkered flag, they succeeded. Yahoo! Sports reports that Wallace already won six races in NASCAR’s K&N East Series, a minor league circuit for the sport’s national series. He is known as an up-and-coming star in NASCAR and proved it already with three top 10s in four Nationwide Series starts last season.
Wallace also has four earlier top fives in the Truck Series this season. Saturday’s win only cemented his place in NASCAR’s future, and the 20-year-old knows it. USA Today notes that Darrell Wallace Jr. commented of his first win on the NASCAR national circuit:
“I had so much confidence coming into this race. I told everybody that asked if I was going to win, ‘H*ll yeah’ every time. So before, it was ‘No, maybe we’re going to try,’ this one was, ‘For sure,’ and we capitalized. This means a lot. It’s indescribable. I’m bawling my eyes out.”
After spending time in Victory Lane, Wallace took to Twitter to celebrate, writing, “We Came. We Saw. We Conquered.” He also received congratulations from NASCAR veteran driver Mark Martin, who wrote on Twitter that Wallace “drove like a hero.” The Truck Series rookie teared up when told about Martin’s words in a post-race interview.
Darrell Wallace Jr.’s performance on Saturday was impressive, aside from his win. He started the race in third place and led a race-high 96 laps. He held his own against Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick and took the lead from Ty Dillon on a lap 151 restart. He withstood three more restarts without relinquishing his number one spot.
Wallace is under contract with Joe Gibbs racing and has his sights set on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup circuits.
[Image via Instagram]