Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wallace makes history, second black driver to win major NASCAR race

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — It was a historic day for NASCAR in Victory Lane on Saturday.

With drivers bumping and wrecking behind him, Darrell Wallace stayed out front in the Kroger 200 truck series race at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the first African-American to win a race in one of NASCAR's three national series — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and trucks — since Wendell Scott in 1963.

Wallace, 20, stayed out front on a restart with six of 200 laps remaining and held on.

The location of the win, about 30 miles west of Scott's hometown of Danville, Va., was not lost on Wallace.

"This is an emotional one for me, especially to do it in Wendell Scott's back yard," said Wallace, a graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. "I love to come in here to Martinsville.

"It's always good to me, and it finally paid off."

Scott, who died in 1990, earned his lone victory in NASCAR's top series at the old Speedway Park in Jacksonville on Dec. 1, 1963. Scott received the winner's check of $1,000, but the trophy was mysteriously misplaced after a two-hour scoring dispute. The family received a replica trophy in 2010, 47 years later.

For Wallace, congratulations poured in on social media. Veteran Mark Martin posted on Twitter: "You drove like a hero."

When told of the comment, Wallace got tears in his eyes.

"I look up to Mark a lot," Wallace said. "That's cool to have the bigger guys watching down on the younger series and one day, hopefully, I'll be racing with them."

The race had its share of chaos. On Lap 188, Ty Dillon tried to nudge Kevin Harvick, who was running second, out of the way. Instead, Dillon turned Harvick's truck, in an incident that collected points leader Matt Crafton. Once the caution came out, Harvick slammed into Dillon's truck, then Dillon spent nearly a lap trying to hit Harvick again.

Harvick eventually parked in Dillon's pit stall and a member of Dillon's crew threw a sledgehammer at Harvick's truck.

Formula One: Sebastian Vettel earned the pole for today's Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi with a lap of 1 minute, 24.119 seconds. He only needs to finish fifth or better to clinch his fourth consecutive championship.

NHRA: John Force, seeking his 16th Funny Car title, earned the No. 1 qualifying spot at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas with a run of 4.011 seconds at 317.79 mph. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Sr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their classes.


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