Introducing: Darrell Wallace Jr
NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program Payin Off?
05.17.12 -Darrell Wallace, Jr. continues to build an impressive resume in racing despite the fact he only recently turned 18. But it is his talent- not his age- that influenced Joe Gibbs Racing to sign Wallace to its driver development program a few years ago.
In 2010, Darrell was selected as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and got his start in stock car racing at the regional touring level. At his first career start at Greenville Pickens Speedway at age 16, Darrell became the youngest and first African American to win a race in NASCAR K&N series history and in track history.
He went on to earn 2010 NASCAR K&N Series East Rookie of the Year honors. By collecting several East Series victories, Darrell finished third and second, respectively, in East Series points the past two years.
Along the way, Darrell has garnered accolades and media attention, including being listed as one of five young drivers to watch in ESPN the Magazine’s special NEXT issue. Now a Drive for Diversity program alum, Darrell is charting is own course up the ranks of NASCAR as a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, who signed Darrell in 2009. Now with the support of one of the elite teams, and their manufacturer partner Toyota, Darrell is a favorite to win the NASCAR K&N Series East championship in his third season in the series.
Wallace will drive fulltime in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for JGR in 2012 in hopes of providing the organization a second straight Series title. Max Gresham would narrowly beat out his JGR teammate last season for the championship, as Wallace competed for Revolution Racing and put together an impressive campaign with three wins, five top-fives and 11 top-ten finishes in the 12 Series races. But this year it will be Wallace’s turn behind JGR’s No. 18 Toyota Camry.
Born in Mobile, AL, 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 fixed up. The person at the shop invited them out to a go-kart race and when Darrell, Sr. asked Darrell, Jr. if he’d liked to give it a shot, he responded yes and was quickly hooked.
Wallace also played basketball but is fully focused on his racing career now. He also enjoys paint ball and playing video games. He and his family currently reside in Concord, NC.