Wallace Brings Remarkable Experience to the Summer Shootout Series
Many Legend Car drivers competing in the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway are hoping to take their careers to the next level, but 16-year-old Darrell Wallace Jr. is already well on his way to what appears to be a promising career in motorsports.
Wallace became interested in the sport after watching a friend race. Starting his career at age 9, Wallace competed in go-karts for two years before he began participating in the Summer Shootout Series in a Bandolero car. In his first year of Bandolero racing, he won 35 out of 48 races.
Wallace views the 10-week Tuesday night series as a stepping stone and now races a Legend Car in the Pro division. He visited Victory Lane for the first time in that division during round four of the 2010 Summer Shootout Series.
“I like running in the Summer Shootout because it’s fun and hectic at the same time,” said Wallace. “Legend Cars are my favorite thing to drive. They have also taught me how to handle bigger cars.”
Recently, Wallace earned more than $10,000 driving a Legend Car when he raced in the Legends Million at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the largest grassroots race in history, and finished 21st in the 34-car Legends Million A-Feature field.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Wallace. “With a million dollar purse, I didn’t know what to expect. There were a lot of good drivers. I had a lot of fun and just hated that I couldn’t win the first-place prize of $250,000.”
After much success behind the wheel of Bandolero and Legend Cars, Joe Gibbs Racing provided Wallace with the opportunity to take his career to the next level.
“Right after I won the 2008 United Auto Racing Association Rookie of the Year award, I got a call from Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Wallace. “We did some testing in South Boston, Va., against other drivers and then I signed with them in 2009.”
In addition to being a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, Wallace participates in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, driving for Revolution Racing. The program develops minority and female drivers with academy-style training while they compete in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
“Being with Revolution Racing and the Drive for Diversity program, it’s cool being with other young people,” explained Wallace. ”But we’re also really competitive. We want to beat each other at everything, even if it’s putting on tires the fastest or beating each other on the racing simulators.”
Wallace is currently competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, a premiere development racing series. He is second in points and is the leading Rookie of the Year candidate.
This year, Wallace secured his place in history as the youngest driver and first African American to win in the K&N Pro Series, when he took the checkered flag in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
“That was an awesome and emotional win for me, my family and Revolution Racing,” said Wallace. “We were looking for a good finish, but we really weren’t expecting the win.”
Outside of driving, the high school senior receives racing instruction, media training and helps work on the set-up of his machines at Revolution Racing. Wallace’s short term goals include winning the K&N Pro Series East championship and the Rookie of the Year award.
“My main goal for the future is to the make it to any of the top three levels of NASCAR,” said Wallace. “I hope that one day some little kid will look up to me as their idol and say ‘I want to do what he does’ and they’ll go out and start racing. Hopefully, I will have paved the way for them.” The 17th Annual Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series continues Tuesday night, Aug. 3, with the return of wild-and-wacky school bus racing. These 13-ton behemoths will once again battle side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper on the tight quarter-mile oval.
In addition to the school bus race, a full slate of Legend Car and Bandolero action is scheduled.
Adult tickets are just $7 with children ages 6 to12 admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Spectator gates open at 4:30 p.m. with feature racing beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information or tickets to the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series, contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.