Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. has a trophy--a 10-foot-tall grandfather clock--that he earned on October 26 of 2013 after becoming the first African-American driver since Wendell Scott in 1963, to win in one of NASCAR's national series. Wallace won the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
The impact of Wallace’s victory, which came in his 19th truck start, is as colossal as that clock. The 20-year-old speed demon mixed it up with Sprint Cup vets Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick and led a race-high 96 laps, including the final 50.
It was a perfect amount of time for Wallace to bask in the glory of the historic victory and shed a tear for the appropriateness of winning his first race in Scott’s backyard (Scott, who passed in 1990, is a native of nearby Danville about 30 miles east of the track).
The winning trophy is prominently placed in Wallace’s new bachelor pad (he recently moved out on his own for the first time). “It’s something to be proud about,” the 20-year-old racing phenom told The Shadow League.
The epic win was multi-layered in meaning. It was captivating because the light brown-skinned Wallace is a rare African-American in a sport that’s been trying to diversify for 65 years, but remains white as computer paper. The fact that Bubba is the fourth African-American to drive full-time in one of NASCAR’s top three national series, joining Scott, Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester is also historical, but hardly reflects the audacity of Wallace’s racing goals...