The announcement on Saturday that Darrell Wallace Jr. is set to drive full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports is seen by many as an indication that the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program is bearing fruit. Currently in its 11th season, the program is aimed at providing opportunities for ethnic minority groups and women to demonstrate their driving skills in NASCAR events. At 19-years of age, Wallace already has years of driving experience to his name and has expressed his hope that he will become a role model for other African-Americans, encouraging them to work toward their goals. As only the fourth African-American driver to compete full-time in a national series, Wallace joins Wendell Scott, Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester in the NASCAR history books.
Born in Mobile, Alabama on October 8, 1993, Darrell Wallace Jr. was raised in Concord, North Carolina. At the age of nine he started racing in the Legends and Bandolero series, winning 35 of the 48 Bandolero Series races in 2005. In 2010, driving for Revolution Racing, Wallace started to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and won his first race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway becoming the first African-American driver, as well as the youngest driver, to win at the track. He won the series’ Rookie of the Year award, becoming the first African-American to win a NASCAR series Rookie of the Year award. In 2011 he won three times and finished the season in second place, with Max Gresham in the lead.
Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2012 season, Wallace made his Nationwide Series debut driving the #20 Toyota at Iowa Speedway in late May, finishing 9th. The talented young driver finished in the top ten in his following two races and earned his first pole position in the Nationwide Series at Dover International Speedway in September 2012. With the season only just beginning, fans are no doubt eager to see how Wallace will perform in the Kyle Busch Motorsports #54 Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series.
Started by NASCAR in 2004, the Drive for Diversity program aims to attract minorities and women to the sport as drivers, crew members and owners.
The 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona offered plenty of racing action over the past weekend, with Juan Pablo Montoyo of the Chip Ganassi Racing Team taking the checkered flag in the 51st edition of this popular annual event. It was Montoya’s third overall win in Daytona, and a fifth for teammate and lead driver, Scott Pruett, putting him on a par with Hurley Haywood’s record for wins in the two-day endurance race. Together with Charlie Kimball and Memo Rojas, Montoya and Pruett proved to be a winning combination crossing the finish line close to 22 seconds ahead of defending champion AJ Allmendinger of Michael Shank Racing.
Run on a 3.56-mile course combining an infield road course with parts of the NASCAR tri-oval, the 24 Hours of Daytona started in 1962 as a three-hour sports car race called the Daytona Continental, with points counting towards the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. The event became the Daytona 2000 in 1964 and the 24 Hours of Daytona between 1966 and 1971 before changing to the 6 hours of Daytona in 1972 because of the fuel crisis of the time as a result of the OPEC oil embargo. The race never took place in 1974, but resumed as the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1975, with the name later changing to include the names of various sponsors, including Pepsi and SunBank. Rolex has been the sponsor since 2002
The off-season timing of the Rolex 24 affords many top drivers the opportunity to participate, and it is generally a star-studded event. With teams consisting of between three and five drivers, world-class participants from other types of racing often sign up for the race. NASCAR drivers have included Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kyle Petty, Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon, while Indianapolis 500 winners to participate include Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice, Juan Pablo Montoyo, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish.