D4D And JGR Development Driver Darrell Wallace, Jr Named ROY in K&N East Pro Series 2010By Marty Tyler
This 17 year old Revolution Racing and Joe Gibbs development driver was amazing. In the 10 races of this season, which included the Limerock Park road course, Darrell, Jr. had quite a head turning season with 5 top 5’s, 7 top 10’s and 2 wins plus locking down the Rookie Of The Year title. I contacted him recently to see if we could hear, directly from him, just what this season and success has meant to him. I asked him to begin where he wanted.
“Ok, well like you said we are still signed with Joe Gibbs Racing and last year we signed on board with Revolution Racing as part of the Diversity program. Revolution Racing is a new team that was established based on the diversity program where we have the try out deal of the combine and the top 10 who made it were able to capture 10 spots on Revolution Racing which consisted of 4 K&N Pro East spots and 6 Late Model All American spots. Everything was all in house, our workout, media, everything so it was all a big plus and a big step up from last year…definitely a lot better.”
“I’m 17 and I’m going to finish school early so I can concentrate on racing. We came into this season looking at Rookie Of The year. We were able to capture that in the UARA Series back in 2008 so that’s where our main focus was being a top rookie and knowing we would be fast. Then being able to go into the first race and get the win was more than we expected because we expected just a solid run, a top 10 or a top 5. So that was definitely a big plus for us. That put a little weight on my shoulders going into the next race where we finished 20th, which didn’t help us much because we fell to 6th in the points. It was kind of a struggle to work back up through, but, we had 3 consecutive top 3’s in a row. So it was pretty much a stellar season and being able to capture that second win at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire was awesome. It was a close battle between me and Truex (Ryan) for the championship standing and another close battle between me and Cole Whitt for the Rookie of the Year standing so 2 tough battles being able to be a part of is pretty awesome.”
I told Darrell that this year’s accomplishments were absolutely amazing and that I felt, or rather knew from our first interview, he had something special to offer this sport. To that he said, “I try not to think about it so much. I don’t want it to go to my head and become cocky, so, I kind of just need to lay low on it. My Dad, my Mom and my sister, my whole family are very excited for me.”
“We recently finished the D4D Combine for next year. We went up to Motor Mile and we were the fastest thing there again. That was definitely a plus to be able to set the bar high again and hopefully we will be able to capture one of the 4 spots for the East series and be able to go for the championship next year because that’s what I told everybody back home on the team, that I’m looking for next year, going for the championship. Hopefully we can go with that next year. There’s nothing definite locked down in house in store for Gibbs yet. Sponsorship is the main deal and I understand that. Times are tough right now so I just have to play it by ear with Gibbs, but hopefully I’ll have something by next year. I’ll be 18 next October. Hopefully at that point I’ll be able to compete in some Nationwide races by the end of the year or in 2012. There have been some talks but nothing really set so I can’t really say when I’m going to be able to do it but that’s what I am hoping for. I try to go out there and give it my all and fortunately I was able to do that this year. Every time we went to the track we were strong. The only time we had a hiccup was the last race of the season at Dover where we had problems with the carburetor and unfortunately we ended up blowing a tire and hitting the wall. That ended the day for us but other than that every other race we showed up strong out of the box as we expected, but we finished 3rd in the points and won Rookie Of The Year so I’ll take it.”Darrell’s family has always played an intricate and supportive part in his racing efforts. Even his friends and teachers support him and his racing career. “It’s wonderful to have that kind of love and support behind me,” he commented. “That’s one of my goals, to be someone other young people can look up to. My ultimate goal would be the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. That would be awesome. I don’t think anyone has ever said that is their ultimate goal.” I asked him if it was ok with him if I included that in this article. He said, “Yes, I want people to know how passionate and determined I am about this sport and what I am doing.”
Speaking more on his parents presence and encouragement: “My dad had always been the driver, the crew chief, the cook, just everything up until now. This is different to get used to, but just having him there was awesome. Every race he had the radio and told me to be there and save something for the end, you’ll get them. It was definitely a plus to have him there every race just like I’m used to. And it was good seeing my mom at the racetrack, too, every week. She was always telling me to thank GOD first, to put him first with everything and when you do that it will all work out. And that is what happened. My sister was able to go to some races too. It was awesome to have the whole family present. It always means a lot to me. That just feels good. It feels like you’re home.
His racing hero? “My favorite driver was Dale, Sr. He’s no longer here but he will always be my favorite.”
The Drive for Diversity Program will make their decisions for next year soon. Darrell said they would notify the drivers in 4 to 6 weeks and it has been nearly 4 at this posting.
I was the first time I spoke with this young man and remain, so impressed with this young driver. He is genuinely and obviously VERY talented, humble (which is quite often lacking in this sport), dedicated, focused, friendly, appreciative and mature far beyond his 17 years. All of that speaks volumes as to his potential success and impact in this sport. He is a driver any team or sponsor would be proud to present. I am a fan of his and am honestly hoping we read, sometime next year, that he will be heading to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in some amazing equipment. For now age is preventative, but money will ultimately dictate the next direction of this young man’s racing future.
For sponsorship information please contact Darrell Wallace, Sr at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow Darrell, Jr on facebook. His website is in the process of being updated so be sure to check it often at www.darrellwallacejr.com
Note worthy information:
Next year’s D4D East Pro Series schedule may include 14 races which means more success and exposure for this young gun.
Revolution Racing was formed in 2009 by Max Siegel who used to be part of the management team at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
With Wallace, Jr’s first win of the season at Greenville Pickens Speedway, he became the youngest driver to win an East Pro Series race by almost four months and gave the Drive for Diversity program its first ever victory in the K&N East Pro Series where many of the tracks he competed at he had never raced on before. Additionally Wallace was the first African-American racer to win in that series’ history.
Good luck, Darrell. We’ll be watching!
Views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Catchfence
Article Tags: Darrell Wallace Jr., NASCAR, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Other Series, Racing Perspectives, ROY