History was made Saturday night in NASCAR—though most people may not know of it and who the subject of it is.
Darrell Wallace Jr. was brought into NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and on Saturday, made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
Wallace Jr. ran well all night long and when it came to the green-white-checkered, he put himself in position to challenge for the win. On the final lap of the race, he made the move and took the lead from fellow rookie Cole Whitt to win the race.
With the race win, Darrell Wallace Jr. accomplished a lot things of that’ll be remembered for a long time.
First, he became the first African-American to win in series history.
Second, he became the youngest winner ever in the K&N Pro Series East (16 years, 5 months, and 19 days). The previous youngest winner with Brett Moffitt (16 years, 9 months, and 27 days) with his win last season at South Boston Speedway.
Lastly, he gave the Drive for Diversity program its first East victory in history. The program had accomplished two wins previously in the K&N Pro Series West, yet this marked on the East side.
Wallace Jr. started racing when he was nine years old and in 2005, he won 35 of the 48 Bandolero races he entered. He won the championship that year and became the first driver in history to win all six races of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Winter Heat on the way to the title.
In 2006, he moved up to the Late Models and registered 11 wins and 34 top 10s in 38 races.
In 2007, he moved up to the late model division and competed in a variety of tracks. In 2008, his late model career took off as he became the youngest Late Model feature winner at Franklin County Speedway. His 2009 season included three wins and 11 top fives in 23 starts, nine of which were UARA Late Model races.
In 2010, he was pinned to be one of the Drive for Diversity Program drivers and is also a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joe Gibbs Racing has already pulled talents like Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto from the K&N Pro Series in the past.
For the 2010 K&N Pro Series East division, he’ll be driving for Max Siegel, who used to be a part of the management at Earnhardt-Ganassi (then Dale Earnhardt Inc).
Siegel jumped on board with the Drive for Diversity program in June of 2009, which is a program that looks to give female and minority race car drivers an opportunity to show their talents.
Siegel then helped start Revolution Racing as part of a company by the name of 909 Group. He wanted the drivers that are part of the program had a good team to run for. The team put past K&N East Series champion/car owner Andy Santerre in charge of operations due to his past experience. They also have brought in other drivers and crew chief from the three main divisions to be able to mentor the drivers.
So far the program has turned out to be a success as it has allowed drivers like Wallace Jr. to showcase their talents, get out there with strong cars and also lock up deals with major NASCAR teams.
The next K&N Pro Series race is at South Boston Speedway on April 3rd and Wallace Jr. and company look to continue the growth of the program.