After win, Wallace hoping to inspire more African-American racers

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After earning a historic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win today at Martinsville Speedway, Darrell Wallace Jr. expressed hopes that his victory can help fuel bigger African-American involvement in a sport where the roster of drivers has been predominantly white.

“Hopefully, it makes it easier,” he said. “I mean, this sport isn’t easy at all for sure – it’s taken us 18 races, I believe, to finally get here. Hopefully it’ll just make them want to jump in it now…You’ve got to be willing to do it and stick out through the thick and the thin.

“In this sport it’s more thick than anything.  But you’ve just got to keep chugging along, man. This is one of many, I hope.”

By winning today’s Kroger 200, Wallace joins Wendell Scott as the only black drivers to win a NASCAR national series race. Scott became the first after winning a Grand National (now Sprint Cup) race in 1963.

The late Scott, who was honored earlier this year by the Commonwealth of Virginia, was a native of Danville, Virginia, which sits about 30 minutes from Martinsville’s .526-mile oval. That fact was not lost on Wallace, who said he was thrilled to win “in Wendell Scott’s backyard.”

Wallace’s triumph is also a milestone for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which was created in 2004 to help minority and female drivers compete in the sanctioning body’s minor leagues with the goal of ascending to its national levels: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.

With his victory today, Wallace joins Kyle Larson as Drive for Diversity graduates who have gone on to win a NASCAR national series event; Larson, a Japanese-American, took his first such win in the Trucks this past April at Rockingham, North Carolina.

“We congratulate Darrell Wallace Jr. on his first national series victory, one that will be remembered as a remarkable moment in our sport’s history,” NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France said in a statement.

“Darrell’s success, following fellow NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson’s win earlier this season, is indicative of a youth and multicultural movement that bodes well for NASCAR’s future growth.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.