MARTINSVILLE, Va. – It took Darrell Wallace Jr. just 19 races to pick up his first career Camping World Truck Series victory, writing his name in the NASCAR record book by winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
The 20-year-old Wallace led the final 50 laps on the half-mile oval to become the first African-American driver to win a race in a NASCAR national touring series since Wendell Scott won a Cup race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1963.
“This is such an emotional win. It will take a while for this to sink in. I might be crying again tomorrow,” said Wallace.
“Coming into this weekend I had more confidence than anyone. I told everyone that we were going to win. In the past we have tried to win. But this time it was ‘bet your bottom dollar’ we are going to win this race.”
The top five had a youthful look, with four of the five 21 years old or younger and rookies in the series. Third-place Jeb Burton and fourth-place Ben Kennedy are both 21 while fifth-place Ryan Blaney is 19.
Thirty-eight-year-old veteran Brendan Gaughan finished second, his best-ever Martinsville finish.
Wallace led the final 50 laps of the race and 96 overall, but had to survive a late restart when a caution came out after Ty Dillon and Kevin Harvick crashed in the second turn. The contact continued between the two after the caution came out, beating and banging on each other down the back stretch and down pit road.
Wallace jumped out to a quick lead on the final restart, though, holding off Gaughan for a 1.673-second victory.
Pole-sitter and two-time defending race winner Denny Hamlin wound up sixth after being involved in a mid-race spin. Hamlin, a four-time Martinsville Sprint Cup winner will get a shot Sunday at another win on the half-mile oval, when he starts on the pole for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Jimmie Johnson will line up second in Sunday’s race with Kyle Busch rolling off third, followed by Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth with Clint Bowyer starting fifth.
The green flag will fall on the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger at 1:30 p.m. Fan gates open at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Tickets remain for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger starting at just $42 and may be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com or at the Martinsville Speedway ticket office.