MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Darrell Wallace Jr. made Saturday a tribute to the late Wendell Scott with a truck painted and numbered for the Hall of Fame inductee.
Then he drove it to Victory Lane.
Wallace's win Saturday at Martinsville Speedway came a year after he became the first black driver to win a national NASCAR race since Scott in 1963. Kyle Busch Motorsports changed the number of Wallace's Toyota truck on Saturday from No. 54 to No. 34 to honor Scott, the NASCAR pioneer who will be posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January.
"It means a lot, I know I had a guardian angel looking over me this weekend," Wallace said. "To be able to put (the truck) in Victory Lane, you couldn't ask for a better weekend. You thought last year was special, but this definitely beats it."
Wallace led a race-high 97 laps in winning his third race of the season. The victory cut Wallace's deficit in the Truck Series point standings to Matt Crafton to 22 with four races remaining.
Timothy Peters finished second, followed by Crafton, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.
Wallace grabbed the lead from Johnny Sauter in heavy traffic 12 laps from the finish, but before the record 11th caution slowed the race.
He then pulled away after a restart with six laps left and beat Peters to the finish line by .495 seconds. Peters had bumped Sauter out of the way in the closing laps.
"I wasn't worried about anybody, honestly," Wallace said. "They kept telling me where everybody was, and I said I didn't care. It's our weekend and we're going to come out and take this (grandfather) clock (trophy) home with us and we just did that.
"The whole Wendell Scott family is here and this is a special moment, just a perfect weekend for us. It's a true honor to have Wendell Scott on our Toyota Tundra and to be able to put it in Victory Lane. I know he (Scott) just said up there, 'Hell yeah.' This is cool."