Darrell Wallace, Jr. has made a lasting impression with every step of his young racing career. Wallace, now 20, has made the move to NASCAR’s top series, joining elite company and adding to his growing resume each week. He will spend the 2014 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competing in his sophomore season and has his eyes aimed at taking home the coveted Championship at season end.
NASCAR Nationwide Series
In his 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut, Wallace proved once again why Joe Gibbs Racing took such a strong interest in him before he even had his legal driver’s license. Wallace made only four starts in the Nationwide Series during the 2012 season, but left each with astounding results that included three top-10 finishes and his first-career pole position. His debut took place in May at Iowa Speedway and he certainly showed no signs of nerves as he qualified eighth and finished ninth. He returned for a second go at Iowa in August and was even more impressive by starting on the outside pole and racing to a seventh-place finish. A few weeks later in Richmond, Wallace was strong once again and battled inside the top five until late in the race when hard racing caused contact that forced him to hang on over the final laps. Despite the setback he still managed to earn a 10th-place finish. In his final race of the season, Wallace was amazing once again. He earned his first-career pole and was set to earn yet another top-10 finish, but contact from behind on the final restart nearly took him out of the race. He pulled out an amazing save to earn a solid 12th-place finish in his first NNS race at Dover International Speedway.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in 2013, Darrell Wallace, Jr. made his mark on the series and added his name to the record books as he became just the fourth African American to race a full season in one of NASCAR’s elite series. Proving that he is the accomplished racer he is, Wallace made his first start in the series at Daytona International Speedway, finishing 12th in the season opener. Wallace followed the season opener with a fifth-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on his way to completing the 2013 season with one win, one pole award, five top-five finishes, 12 top-10 finishes and led a total of 340 laps.
Two significant moments for Wallace’s career included his pole award at Dover International Speedway and his first-career win in one of NASCAR’s National Series at Martinsville Speedway.
Wallace secured the pole at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2013 to become the youngest winner of the “21 Means 21” award. After starting from the pole, his fourth consecutive at the track in various levels of competition, Wallace led a total of 119 laps before finishing the race 10th.
Closing in on the end of the season, Wallace made history when he won the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2013. Starting the race third, Wallace led a total of 96 laps, including the final 50, to win the race and become the first African American to win a NASCAR race on the national level in nearly 50 year.
Wallace ended the season eighth in the final NCWTS Driver Point Standings and second in the NCWTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Point Standings.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series and Late-Model Racing
Wallace competed full time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. During the season, he earned one win, one pole, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts. Struggling to match his success of his previous two seasons, Wallace closed out the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East seventh in the point standings.
Prior to 2012, Wallace spent two years racing for Revolution Racing as part of the NASCAR Diversity Program. He made history when in the first race of the 2010 season he became the NASCAR K&N Pro Series’ youngest and first African American to win a race at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway. His second win of the season came later in the season at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Wallace captured the K&N Pro Series East 2010 Rookie of the Year honors with two wins, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the short 10-race season. He finished third in the point standings. In 2011, Wallace put together another impressive campaign with three wins, three poles, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He finished the 2011 season second in the point standings.
Making a name for himself and garnering Rookie of the Year honors in a Series was nothing new for Wallace as he worked his way up through the ranks. In addition to his NASCAR K&N Series success, Wallace also won the 2008 Rookie of the Year title in the United Auto Racing Association (UARA) Series and finished sixth overall in the point standings that year. That same season, he became the youngest driver to ever win a race at Franklin County (Va.) Speedway, his first victory in Late Models. He returned to racing Late Models in 2009 and went on to win three races and earn 11 top-five finishes in 23 Late Model starts, nine of which were part of the UARA season.
Early Racing Career
Wallace’s racing career began in 2004 when he began competing in Jr. Sportsman Champ Karts. He finished his first season second overall in points at the Carolina Asphalt Racing Winter Series. He moved to Bandoleros in 2005 and won an amazing 35 of the 48 races and posted 40 top-five finishes. He became the first driver to win five races in a single week. In addition, he competed against much older competition in the Outlaw Division and won all but one race in 2005.
Wallace moved up to Legends in 2006 and completed a phenomenal rookie season with 11 wins, 27 top-five and 34 top-10 finishes in 38 total starts. He started racing Late Models in 2007, competing in the final five races of the UARA Touring series.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Wallace and his family moved to North Carolina for his father’s work when he was just two years old. His interest in racing began by chance at the age of nine when his father purchased a motorcycle and took it in to a shop to have improvements made on it. The gentleman at the shop invited the Wallace’s out to a go-kart race and when Darrell, Sr. asked Darrell, Jr. if he’d like to give it a shot, he responded yes and was quickly hooked.
Wallace also played basketball, but is now fully focused on his racing career. He has become an accomplished photographer and frequently displays his talents through his twitter and instagram accounts. He also enjoys paintball and playing video games. He currently reside in Huntersville, NC.