Darrell Wallace Jr. will become only the fourth black driver to race full time in one of NASCAR’s three national series after Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday said the 19-year-old will drive in NASCAR’s truck series this year.
“I can’t wait to get on the track at Daytona [International Speedway],” site of the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Feb. 22, Wallace said in a statement.
Wallace is a developmental driver under contract with Gibbs and will race the No. 54 Toyota truck prepared by the team of Kyle Busch Motorsports. Busch himself drives for Gibbs in NASCAR’s top-level Sprint Cup Series.
“We have a great deal of confidence in Darrell and this is a big step in his career,” Joe Gibbs, the team’s owner and Hall of Fame NFL coach, said in a statement.
Wallace is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program to attract more minorities and female participants to the sport, and Wallace said, “I also appreciate NASCAR for the work they’ve been doing to help drivers like me get these opportunities.”
After winning six times in a NASCAR minor-league series, the K&N; Pro Series East, Wallace drew added attention last year when he entered four races in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series for stock cars and finished in the top 10 in three of those races.
Other black drivers who raced full-time in NASCAR’s national series included Wendell Scott -- the only black driver to have won a race at that level, which he did in 1963 -- along with and Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester.