Two different eras of racing gathered onstage at Laurel Park Middle School Wednesday afternoon with a single goal: inspire more than 500 students to excel in the classroom and beyond.
Darrell Wallace Jr., the winner of last fall’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway, and Frank and Wendell Scott Jr., the sons of 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott, spent an hour talking to the students about the importance of education and hard work.
When Wallace won at Martinsville Speedway last fall, he became the first African American to win a NASCAR touring series race since Wendell Scott in 1963. He has won two more NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series races this season and is fourth in the points standings headed into the Kroger 200 on Oct. 25. The Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Frank Scott has strong ties to the school. He was a teacher and basketball coach there for more than 20 years when it was a high school. He was one of the area’s most successful basketball coaches during that time, winning 391 games in 21 seasons.
“I have a lot of great memories,” Frank Scott said about Laurel Park. “I think about the students who came through Laurel Park in those 21 years I was here, all the great athletes who went on to be successful in life. It makes me feel proud that I had a little bit to do with that.”
Scott said his goal Tuesday was to “hopefully motivate them (the students) to follow their dream because they could be the next Darrell Wallace or the next pit crew chief or the next mechanic. There is so much diversity in automobile racing today.”
Wallace said he had similar goals.
“I want to let them know and understand what it takes to grow up and be successful, to get out of school, to get good grades,” said Wallace.
Wallace engaged the students in a long question-and-answer session, one of his favorite things when dealing when groups of young people.
“The best one is always the ‘do you have to go to the bathroom’ question. I didn’t get the ‘am I single’ question from the girls,” said Wallace, who did indeed get the bathroom question. “Questions are good though. It gets interaction going, gets that personal feeling with the kids.”
Advance ticket prices for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 begin at just $40.