Charlotte, NC – Kyle Busch Motorsports has formally introduced Darrell Wallace Jr. as the full-time driver of the No. 54 Toyota in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the 2013 season.
Wallace, 19, will become just the fourth African-American driver to compete full-time in one of NASCAR's top-three racing series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck).
Wendell Scott became the first African-American driver to compete full-time in NASCAR's premier series. Scott, who drove in the series from 1961-73, won one race, which occurred in 1963 at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway. Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester both competed in trucks, but neither one of them won a race in that series.
Though KBM made its official announcement about Wallace on Saturday, there had been several reports in the previous days that he would secure a full-time ride with Kyle Busch's truck team.
"This is awesome," Wallace said during a fan forum as part of the NASCAR Acceleration Weekend 2013 held in Charlotte. "I know it's going to be a great year. So now I can say finally it's here. I know we've been trying to keep it hush for a while now, and some of those reporters get a little antsy and put it out a couple of days before.
"It's been fun, and I'm ready to get things rockin' and rollin'. I know NASCAR has been working really hard on their diversity program over the years to get it better and better, and it's definitely shown."
Wallace will pair with Joey Coulter, who will drive the No. 18 Toyota for KBM. Busch is schedule to drive the No. 51 Toyota in 10 truck races this season, beginning with the Feb. 22 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
"It's going to be a great year, and the trucks are going to be new for me," Wallace said. "We actually tested (Friday), and I love those things. You can drive the heck out of them and have fun with it. I'm ready for things to happen. We've got two weeks until Daytona, and it's going to be good."
In 2010, Wallace was selected as part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program and got his start in stock car racing at the regional touring level. In his first career start at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., Wallace became the youngest driver and first African-American to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race. He was 16 years old at the time. The Mobile, Ala.-native earned rookie honors in the K&N Pro Series East that year.
This past season, Wallace recorded three top-10 finishes and one pole in four Nationwide starts. His first race in NASCAR's second-tier series came last May at Iowa Speedway, where he finished ninth, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Wallace has been a development driver for JGR.
"We couldn't be more pleased to be associated with Toyota and to have Darrell Wallace come on board with the NASCAR Diversity Program and being able to carry that torch a little bit further down the road," Busch said. "Hopefully, it will help Darrell expand into his future career and his plans to move up into the Sprint Cup Series eventually."