Wallace Jr. Trucks To Victory At Martinsville
Darrell Wallace Jr. earned his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.
By claiming the victory, Wallace Jr., who turned 20 on Oct. 8 became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national touring series event since Wendell Scott won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Dec. 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, Fla., a span of five decades.
After winning back-to-back poles on Friday afternoon pole sitter Denny Hamlin led the field to green in the 15th annual Kroger 200, but ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter picked up right where he left off by taking the lead on lap one, until the NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Wallace Jr. took the top spot for the first time of the afternoon Lap nine.
Wallace took the lead for the third time of the day on Lap 151 and never gave it back. He took the checkered flag in his 19th career start holding off Brendan Gaughan and Jeb Burton to collect Toyota’s 11th NCWTS win of the season and fifth of the year for KBM.
“This (win) means everything,” Wallace Jr. said. “This is an emotional win for me, especially doing it in Wendell Scott’s backyard. I love coming here to Martinsville, it’s always good to me. It finally paid off. I think it’s my third trip here. I love coming here, the fans are great here and we always put on great races here. I had to do some muscling there at the end and get around Ty (Dillon) and keep away from (Kevin) Harvick, so we dodged a few bullets in the race and this is awesome. This is good for not only myself and the team, (but for) Kyle, Samantha, Jerry (Baxter, crew chief), Toyota, everyone involved this is big.
“I had so much confidence coming into this race, and I told my guys that I did, and I told everybody that asked if I was going to win I said, ‘Hell yeah’ every time. So, it was, ‘No, maybe we’re going to try,’ this one was, ‘For sure,’ and we capitalized. This means a lot.”
Gaughan, who recorded his second runner-up finish of the year offered, “I always give Clay Campbell (Martinsville Speedway president) a hard time by saying I hate Martinsville, but the truth is I’m gonna miss Martinsville.”
“Going to Nationwide next year, Martinsville isn’t on the schedule. The South Point Chevy was good enough to be fifth … sixth … seventh maybe tonight. We were solid, we got to seventh and we were good enough to be pass one or two more. When that wreck happened Stevie Reeves, my spotter did a great job. I saw just enough of it to hook dead left and got by it and it put me third on the restart. Darrell Wallace had a fantastic restart, I tried to play a little bit of game (with him), cause I was coming. The old guy (got) sandwiched in the middle, I’ll take it.”No Comment