Darrell Wallace Jr. was able to take the lead for good on a restart that followed a caution with 57 laps to go in the 200-lap Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday and held that lead through three more restarts to claim his first-career Truck Series win. The win was only the second scored by an African-American in a NASCAR national-level race and the first since Wendell Scott, from nearby Danville, Fa., won at NASCAR’s top level in 1964.
“I’m speechless right now,” Wallace said. “I couldn’t even hold it together coming off turn four to the checkers.”
Wallace pulled away from the field on the final restart of the race with six laps remaining. That restart followed a caution that came out with 13 laps to go for a multi-truck incident involving series points leader Matt Crafton, Ty Dillon and Kevin Harvick. The wreck led to post-accident contact between Dillon and Harvick during the caution and Harvick stopping in Dillon’s pit stall to block Dillon’s entry for service.
“He (Harvick) was kind of hogging the bottom,” Dillon said of the incident. “I gave him a tap, and he got sideways.”
After climbing out of his truck in the garage, Harvick vocally expressed his frustration with Dillon, referring to him as a rich kid with a “silver spoon in his mouth.”
“The 3 just dumpled me. That’s the reason I’m leaving RCR,” Harvick, who is in his final year with Richard Childress Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, said. In Saturday’s truck race, Harvick was driving for NTS Motorsports.
Denny Hamlin started on the pole but wasn’t credited with leading a lap until he took the lead from Wallace on lap 41. The KBM teammates on Hamlin and Wallace ran first and second for awhile before Hamlin lost several positions on a restart just past the halfway point pof the race.
Wallace continued on up front until he lost the lead to Ross Chastain with 80 laps remaining. Chastain stayed out when the fifth caution of the race came out with 73 laps to go, while everyone else headed for pit road. When the race returned to green, trucks on fresher tires passed Chastain, and Dillon took the lead. Dillon ran up front until Wallace retook the lead for good with just over 50 laps to go.
Brendan Gaughan finished second and Jeb Burton was third. Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., finished fourth and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.
Hamlin recovered from a spin with 57 laps remaining to finish sixth. Finishing seventh through 10th German Quiroga, Johnny Sauter, Scott Riggs and James Buescher.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR