Making History: Darrell Wallace Jr. Claims First NASCAR National Series Triumph, Scores For Diversity
NASCAR isn’t quite the stereotypical scene from your father’s generation any longer…at least that’s not where it’s heading.
And that’s completely deliberate, for the better.
Illustrated by up and coming driver Darrel Wallace Jr. and his massive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory this past weekend at Martinsville, the landscape is undergoing a modernization of sorts – as the field of competitors becomes more and more diverse and the NASCAR organization aims to spread appeal of America’s first ‘action sport’ to all sorts of people that love engines, racing and drama.
“I want to be a role model and inspiration to the younger kids and just change the sport as a whole and change it for the better, bring in a new face and just new activity into the sport, and winning helps everything,” Darrel – who is biracial – said following his emotional win. “Winning, there’s nothing better than winning. And I think that’ll help kind of pave its own way there, and hopefully get my name out there even more.”
He most definitely will have a larger profile if he continues to race as he did in Martinsville.
The Alabama native never sunk below sixth place and led the pack for 96 laps. But a final restart was the true test of his mettle.
Choosing the inside line for the reset, he pulled away from Jeb Burton with five laps remaining and powered his way to glory.
With that, he became a symbol of sorts for NASCAR’s continuing efforts to promote and celebrate multiculturalism and a new generation of fans in a sport that’s long been associated exclusively with an older, Southern, non-diverse fan base.
‘We congratulate Darrell Wallace Jr. on his first national series victory, one that will be remembered as a remarkable moment in our sport’s history,‘’ Brian France, NASCAR’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement on his big win. ’’Darrell’s success, following fellow NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson’s win earlier this season, is indicative of a youth and multicultural movement that bodes well for NASCAR’s future growth.’’
Although a Camping Truck victory is far from a Sprint Cup triumph, Darrel’s memorable result is a step in the right direction for his team, for NASCAR and for a new generation of stock car racing fans that may just be a little more young and multicultural (more reflective of society), overall, than you might think.