The scene was set. The first African-American to win a national NASCAR race in 1963 and future Hall of Fame inductee, Wendell Scott, would be honored at his home track in Martinsville, VA. Darrell Wallace Jr., only the second African-American to win a national series race, would pay homage to the trailblazer by changing his traditional #54 to Scott’s #34 and would have a new paint-scheme to match his signature blue. The Wendell Scott family, including his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, would be on hand to watch their patriarch’s legacy brought back to life. AND if it couldn’t get any better, Darrell Wallace Jr. would finish qualifying with the best time, putting him in the top position to start the race.
This couldn’t have been scripted any better. The only problem is that in real life, perfect scripts rarely have perfect endings. Little did we know that this would not be your ordinary “too good to be true” narrative. Today would be special.
In a race that saw a record 11 cautions and Wallace falling behind as far as fourth, Darrell fought his way back into the lead with just 12 laps remaining and never looked back, sealing a victory and making the day special for everyone in attendance.
“The whole Wendell Scott family is here and this is a special moment, just a perfect weekend for us. It’s a true honor to have Wendell Scott on our Toyota Tundra and to be able to put it in Victory Lane. I know he (Scott) just said up there, ‘Hell yeah.’ This is cool.”
“I know I had a guardian angel looking over me this weekend,” Wallace said. “To be able to put (the truck) in Victory Lane, you couldn’t ask for a better weekend. You thought last year was special, but this definitely beats it.”
At the end of the race, Scott’s son looked at me and said, “You know that was him up there,” pointing to the sky with tears in his eyes. I shook my head thoughtfully and said, “I sure do.”
And there you have it, the perfect scene, mixed with a little divine intervention, equaled the perfect ending to a great story. What more could a girl ask for?
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