Darrell Wallace Jr. says it will take 'a while' for NASCAR to change

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NASCAR driver and one of this year’s Grio’s 100 honorees Darrell Wallace Jr. talked to theGrio about his first Nationwide series start this year at Talledega Super Speedway.

The 20-year-old made headlines last fall when he won the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace was the first African-American to win a race at the national level in 50 years. Wendell Scott was the first black driver to win a NASCAR race in 1963.

It meant a lot,” Wallace told theGrio.com in regards to his Martinsville win. ” It’s pretty cool to be the second [black driver to win], but at the same time, that’s pretty sad, and it needs to be more than that.”

“It just shows how much this sport needs to change, and I think it is. It’s just gonna take a while.”

theGrio’s 100: Darrell Wallace, Jr., pro driver makes NASCAR history

The young driver is a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, which is dedicated to providing women and minorities opportunities in the NASCAR industry.

Wallace stressed the importance of Drive for Diversity because NASCAR is unlike other sports.

“You can’t start off playing this sport or doing the sport by going to your local sport goods store, and that’s the tough thing about it,” he said.

A supporter of the program, Wallace said it allows everybody who is interested to have a shot.

In his first Nationwide series start of 2014, Wallace finished 31st at Talladega following an accident that resulted in heavy damage to his car.

Keep an eye on Wallace during the remainder of the NASCAR season.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals