Tuesday, November 1, 2011 02:00
Darrell Wallace, Jr. just might be NASCAR’s version of Tiger Woods—a pre-2010 Tiger without all his self-destructive shenanigans, it’s hoped.
At age 16, Wallace became the first African-American to win what’s now called the K&N Pro Series East (and was previously known as the Busch Series East and North and the Camping World Series East. I’m gonna stop mentioning sponsors if they don’t stick around a few years.) As a 17-year-old, he won three races in the 2011 series and finished second in the Points standings.
As part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity, the now 18-year-old Wallace was slated to step into a Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series car in 2012. However, lack of sponsorship dollars may mean Wallace could either be spending another year in the K&N Series or wind up a student at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
Wallace, originally from Mobile, Ala., started racing at the relatively old age of nine. (Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso started when he was three, Jeff Gordon when he was five.) His family-operated team helped him win in karts and Legends cars before moving into late models at age 14. In 2010, he was victorious in his Pro Series East debut and was named Rookie of the year.
Wallace is a natural in front of the camera and appears to have the all-consuming desire to become a NASCAR star. Let’s hope he doesn’t have time for many classes at UNCC.