Truth & Rumors > Auto Racing

Has Gibbs found NASCAR's black star?

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09:13 AM ET 05.20 | Nearly every major American sport has black stars, including Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Serena Williams, but the top three Nascar national series have none. It is a glaring absence in a sport desperate to attract new fans and diversify its audience. Darrell Wallace Jr., 18, who is scheduled to make his debut in the lower-level Nationwide Series on Sunday at Iowa Speedway, just might be the one to finally break through. "We really feel that Darrell is a guy that has a gift behind the wheel," said J. D. Gibbs, the president of Joe Gibbs Racing, one of the top teams in Nascar. Gibbs has been searching for Nascar's first black star for nearly a decade, beginning with a collaboration with Reggie White before he died in 2004, and signed Wallace in 2009, when he was 15. "I think it's a real value to this sport if you can kind of have that piece fit in," Gibbs said. "Other sports, it kind of happens naturally. This sport's hard because of the barriers to entry because of the cost standpoint." Darrell Wallace Sr., who owns an industrial cleaning business, has spent nearly $1 million to support his son???s racing. Now Gibbs has taken over. The plan is to have Wallace race in four Nationwide events this year, with the possibility of a full schedule in 2013. Nascar officials will be among those watching closely on Sunday.

New York Times

Darrell Wallace Jr., AP Darrell Wallace Jr., AP
May 20, 2012  09:34 AM ET

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May 20, 2012  09:38 AM ET

If he's as good as people says he is.. then he should have no trouble in finding a ride with a team.. and if he has trouble finding a ride.. then I hope people don't start playing ''that'' card.. Nascar doesn't need this to go there

May 20, 2012  09:46 AM ET

And I'm hoping he's not getting ''special treatment'' over more deserving drivers just because of his color.. I'll watch today's race to see what all the hype is about.. usually when Nascar builds something up.. it usually doesn't live up to expectations

May 20, 2012  10:53 AM ET

Regardless -- it appears this troop can wheel a car ... forget everything else and let him have at it ... thats what this great Country is all about.

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May 20, 2012  03:32 PM ET

No offense to the blacks, but wait till those gay guys come flaming into the garage area. Will they be endeared?

May 20, 2012  04:46 PM ET

Top 10 finish in his debut.. kept out of trouble.. not bad

May 20, 2012  05:57 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Top 10 finish in his debut.. kept out of trouble.. not bad

not exactly a field full of super stars though..

May 20, 2012  06:14 PM ET

another gimmick ????? NASCAR... a few race car drivers, then a bunch of people who can drive a race car, and some people playing some celeberty role. and lots and lots of empty seats .

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May 20, 2012  07:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

not exactly a field full of super stars though..

True.. but he stayed on the lead lap.. thats a start for the 1st time out with the Nationwide series

May 21, 2012  04:43 AM ET

I don't see what the big deal is....
The day this country stops making such a big deal about race is the day that racism will finally end. Who cares what color, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, hair color, blood type, etc. someone is. Still a **** sapien. We're all the same species, ya know...

May 21, 2012  04:45 AM ET

Wow, I can't even write the full genus/species name of a human being without it getting *****ed out by the filter...

May 21, 2012  11:27 AM ET

I think the first Black NASCAR star was Wendall Scott he had a 13 yr career and even won a race and usually finished in the top 10.

And what about Willt T. Ribbs, heck he stole the Pacecar I beleave it was in 1974 at Charlotte and was arrestted for evading the police, his car was given to Dale Earnhardt who was a no-name at the time.

May 21, 2012  11:28 AM ET

"Willy T.Ribbs"

May 21, 2012  01:35 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

"Willy T.Ribbs"

Poor Willy T also was the driver who ran over a course worker in the inaugural Vancouver Indy race...

Jean Patrick Hine.

I remember that so clearly it could have been yesterday.

May 22, 2012  12:32 AM ET

IF the fans weren't chasing NASCAR all over the television dial, NASCAR could have more fans. With basic cable, I won't see it again until August. By then, who cares?

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