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Girl Driver Makes Truck Debut

Today is the Cool Orange 500 at the Martinsville short track, but I did my motorsports thing for the weekend yesterday. It was the Kroger 250 in the truck series, also at Martinsville, and Chrissy Wallace was racing.

The 19-year-old daughter of veteran stock-car driver Mike Wallace has been a stand-out in Late Models and aims to make the first big girl dent in NASCAR. Martinsville was her debut in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, in a Toyota belonging to Germain Racing.

"This is a big opportunity," Wallace said. "Not many females have gotten the chance to be with a top-notch team like Germain Racing and work with a manufacturer like Toyota."

Dad, who was scheduled to be Chrissy's spotter, agreed. He said, "I'd like to see her qualify well and race all day long." When you're a rookie driver, that's what you hope to do. And that's what Chrissy did.

During the race, she ran in the back of the pack, trying to stay out of trouble and make the most of her seat time. The short track made for lots of beating and banging, and 15 cautions. So as cars wrecked and left the race, Chrissy's numerical position kept clicking forward, till she was 20th in the final lap. Going into the last turn, Kyle Busch, who was running 3rd, made a last-minute bid for 1st, but he wrecked the 2nd place car, and both of them spun out of the race. That moved Chrissy up to 18th at the checkered flag.

After the race, a happy girl talked to the media, her blonde ponytail unruffled. -- Patricia Nell Warren