Darrell Wallace Jr. Becomes the First African-American in 50 Years to Win a NASCAR Race

Darrell Wallace Jr. Becomes the First African-American in 50 Years to Win a NASCAR RaceImage via USA Today Sports

Darrell Wallace Jr. has been giving NASCAR a good look by just his existence in the sport.  He made history this year—his rookie year—by being just the fourth African-American to drive full-time for one of NASCAR's top three national series. There's the Sprint Cup (think Jimmy Johnson, Brad Keselowski, etc.), the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series—the one Wallace drives for. Today his claim to fame transcended participation.

When Wallace won today at Martinsville Speedway, he became the first African-American in 50 years to win in one of NASCAR's National Series. Wendell Scott was the last person to do so when he won in Jacksonville in December 1, 1963.

Although Wallace was understandly emotional over the personal achievement, he knew his win served a larger purpose. "[Young African-Americans] want to see who they can be like," he said. "They look at NASCAR, [and] is there anybody there? No. Now it's my job to perform well on track and off track for kids of color … and for people to say, 'There's someone we can look up to now.' " The victory shows that the possibilities are endless—or at least ought to be—regardless of background.

Scott still is the only black man to win in what is currently known as the Sprint Cup, but at 20, Wallace has more than enough time to change that.

RELATED: An Oral History of Black NASCAR Drivers 

[via USA TODAY Sports]

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