Wallace the lone Black NASCAR driver at Talladega

Filed under SPORTS

BY PERRY GREEN
NNPA NEWS SERVICE

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR event since 1963, finished 31st behind the wheel of the No. 20 ToyotaCare Camry car in the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega, Ala.

NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace Jr. waits beside his truck as crew members make adjustments during a break in practice on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway.(JEFF SINER/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/MCT)

NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace Jr. waits beside his truck as crew members make adjustments during a break in practice on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway.
(JEFF SINER/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/MCT)

The May 3 event was Wallace’s first car race at Talladega. He raced at Talladega last year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he led for four laps before finishing in 17th place.

Wallace, 20, was born to an African-American mother and a White father in Mobile, Ala. but grew up in Concord, N.C. He began his racing career at age nine, and moved up through NASCAR’s developmental circuit before joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012.

Won in Virginia
Competing in the truck series in October 2013, Wallace won the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, joining Wendell Scott as the only Black drivers to ever win a NASCAR event.

This year, he earned the opportunity to drive in Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing, leading to his qualification for Talladega. Talladega marked Wallace’s fifth race as a Nationwide Series driver.

“It’s like a debut all over again,” Wallace told The Huntsville Times. “I’m always learning what’s going to be different.”

Elliott Sadler won the race, followed by Chris Buescher and Regan Smith.

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