Darrell Wallace Jr. Speaks about Being One of the Few Black Drivers in NASCAR [INTERVIEW]
It has been a long winding road for NASCAR racing star Darrell Wallace Jr. He is one of the very few minority drivers to break into a sport that has historically not seen many.
Wallace, Jr. has a lot to prepare for soon as he will be racing Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona Speedway tomorrow night (Feb. 22), but took time to talk to 1130 The Tiger about growing up with racing and why he thinks minorities steer away from the sport.
Darrell Wallace Jr. was born in Mobile, Alabama, but moved to Concord, North Carolina, a hot bed for motor racing. He began his racing career early, having started out in the "Legends Car Racing" series and in the "Bandolero" racing series.
While working his way up through the ladder, Wallace Jr. dealt with harsh criticism and was on the receiving end of many racist remarks from other drivers. But that did not stop him from doing what he loved.
In 2010, he began racing in NASCAR's K & N Pro Series East series and was a part of the Revolutionary Racing team. The same year, Wallace Jr. broke all odds and won his very first professional race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Pickens County, South Carolina.
That same year, Wallace Jr. was the first black driver to win a race since Wendell Scott won the Jacksonville 200 in 1964.
Aside from being the youngest driver to win at the racetrack at 17 years old, he also became the very first black man win a race in that series. In 2011, he became the first to win NASCAR's prestigious Rookie of the Year award. He won several more races at Richmond International Speedway, Columbus Motor Speedway, and Dover International Speedway.
His efforts caught the eye of legendary Redskins head coach, and racing owner Joe Gibbs who signed Wallace Jr. to his team for the 2012 season.
He did not let Gibbs down as he was once again a winner at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, his first under Joe Gibbs. In May 2012, Wallace Jr., made his Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway where he finished in the top 10.
Darrell Wallace Jr. has a lot to prepare for soon, as he will be racing Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona Speedway tomorrow night.
He told The Tiger why he believes there are so few minorities in the sport.
"Two things, it's the cost and that there are no role models to look up to," Wallace, Jr. said. "I'm still trying to work my way up through, but the good thing is my heart is set to go up to the top ranks and be a role model for the kids there who are looking to get into the sport."
When asked if he feels and pressure coming into the sport, he said, "It's there, but I do my best to put that aside."