Darrell Wallace Jr.: Drive for Diversity Success Story
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.