Nevertheless, his victory in Martinsville, Virginia was deemed major-league news because, you see, Wallace is a product of NASCAR’s nine-year-old Drive for Diversity program. He’s the first African American to win even this kind of third-tier NASCAR event since 1963.
Presumably, after this shattering of barriers and furnishing of a suitable role model, black drivers will flood NASCAR, just as Tiger Woods’s 1997 Masters victory led to all the black golf champions we see today.
(Oh, sorry, that didn’t happen as forecast.)
The news should raise the question: If it takes so much organized effort in the 21st century for a black to win a small-time NASCAR contest, how in the world did Wendell Scott triumph in a Grand National race a half-century ago, back before diversity awareness?
It’s a terrific story, one that was made into a 1977 biopic, Greased Lightning, with Richard Pryor playing Scott. (In real life, Scott looked more like a swarthy Gene Hackman.)