A year ago, Darrell Wallace Jr. helped write some new NASCAR history.
On Saturday, he led a rousing celebration of its past.
Wallace emerged from a wild four-way battle with the race lead with 11 of 200 laps remaining and held off Timothy Peters to win Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway for the second consecutive season.
Wallace’s win last season was the first for a black driver in the Truck Series and just the second in one of NASCAR’s three national series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
The late Wendell Scott is the only black driver to win a Cup race, with a victory in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1963.
“They kept telling me where everybody was and I said I didn’t care,” said Wallace, who drove a truck with a paint scheme and number honoring Scott’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“It’s our weekend and we’re going to come out and take this (grandfather) clock (trophy) home with us and we just did that.”
Johnny Sauter was leading the way as Wallace, Eric Jones and German Quiroga battled for the lead late in the race. The group spread out four-wide as it tried to avoid the lapped truck of Wendell Chavous and several trucks spun in the process.
On a restart on Lap 195 following the caution, Wallace had little trouble putting distance between himself and Peters.
Series points leader Matt Crafton finished third, Jones was fourth and Ryan Blaney was fifth. Crafton holds an 18-point lead over Blaney for the series championship with three races remaining.
Sauter, who bumped Wallace earlier in the race to take the lead, got upset after the race when Peters bumped Sauter out of the way for second place on the final laps. The drivers had to be separated by NASCAR officials on pit road after the race.
The win is the third this season for Wallace and fourth of his career. He also completed a season-sweep of both races at Martinsville this season.
“I’m so stoked for my team and my guys have worked tremendous hours all year long,” Wallace said. “Three wins right now and contending for a championship.
“This is cool and I’m so proud to have Wendell Scott’s whole family here.”