The final stretch of the 2013 NASCAR season kicked off this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and both the on and off-track excitement didn’t disappoint.
Martinsville welcomed two new drivers to Victory Lane in 2013. Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. became only the second African-American driver to win a major NASCAR premiere series event when he emerged from the carnage on Saturday to claim his first ever victory in the Camping World Truck Series. Wendell Scott was the first and last African-American driver to see Victory Lane back in 1963.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Wallace said Sunday morning. “I think the only time it hit me was when I took the checkered, and then after that it still hasn’t hit me. I guess tomorrow or whatever, it usually takes a couple days for a big win to settle in. It has been over a year since my last one. But it’s been great seeing all the outlets that I’m on and doing all this stuff. It’s for the better, and it’s trying to change the sport, and I’m all in for that.
“Just carrying the torch that Wendell Scott laid down for us and taking it farther, and that’s the biggest thing I’m trying to do. I don’t really pay attention to all the media stuff and let that get to me and forget where I came from. That’s not my type. I read through it, appreciate everybody for all the comments, but I’ve still got three races to go.”
Wallace’s victory made national headlines and Scott’s two sons, Wendell Jr and Franklin Scott, joined Wallace in Victory Lane.
“Well, when the checkered flag dropped,” Franklin Scott said, “I heard a big boom from heaven, and my daddy said, ‘Hell, yeah.’ ”
Watch Wallace’s win here!
On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series also saw a first-time winner, of 2013 that is. Jeff Gordon collected his eighth grandfather clock at Martinsville Speedway, his first since 2005. Added as the 13th driver in the Chase, Gotdon now sits 3rd in points and is still within reach of the Championship.
“I’m just so proud of my team for never giving up. We’ve shown it all year long and we’ve been through a lot. But this is making it all worth it, to get this huge win at Martinsville,” Gordon said in Victory Lane. “Man, what a great race car.”
Watch Gordon’s late race pass here!