FORT WORTH, Texas — Over the years, Wallace has been a famous name in NASCAR, and there have been some well-known Darrells, too. For that matter, there are a few Juniors doing pretty well for themselves in the sport.
But Darrell Wallace Jr. is blazing a different trail.
Just a few weeks after he turned 20 years old, Wallace became the first African-American driver in decades to win a race in one of NASCAR's top three series when he took the checkered flag in last week's Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Driving the No. 54 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Wallace will try to follow up his victory with a strong performance in Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway.
Wallace is one of only four full-time black drivers to participate in NASCAR's top three series, along with Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Lester and Wendell Scott Jr.
Prior to Wallace's victory last week, Wendell Scott Sr. was the only black driver to win on one of NASCAR's top series, a victory that came Dec. 1, 1963. Ironically, it was Scott Jr. who discovered Wallace five years ago, when Scott was working as a scout for NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.
Scott Sr. died in 1990, three years before Wallace was born, but Wallace has become close with the Scott family.
Q: You've known Wendell Scott Sr.'s family for a few years now. How valuable has that relationship been for you?
A: Being able to meet Wendell Jr. back in 2008 or '09 has been really cool. He has so many stories and knows so much history. Hearing about him, and his brother, Franklin, and their father, Wendell Sr., has been great. It really makes you think, and gets you pumped up to get back in the race car again and do it all over for him, to carry on the legacy that Wendell Sr. left behind.
Has it sunk in just how big your win was on a historic level, and how much it has meant to a lot of people?
Yeah, I didn't think it was a quarter as big as it has been. I didn't even think about all the history that was tied to it. I just thought it was another race on the schedule that we were actually able to win. It's cool to be a part of, for sure, and thanks goes out to NASCAR for having me as a part of their series and a part of their family. It was a big win for us, and having that first win off our back is a little pressure relieved. We can just go out and give it our best and have fun.
You drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Busch is a guy who has had massive success at Texas Motor Speedway. Do you expect that knowledge base to be helpful for your team on Friday night?
I believe so. Kyle's one of the best out there, and when he climbs in a truck, he's always the favorite to win. That's good, because we can bounce ideas off him and try to learn from him. He wants to see us go great, so anytime we can talk to him or pick his brain really helps out. We try to use it against him, but he usually comes out on top still.