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Darrell Wallace Jr. critical of Kyle Busch’s comments on marketing of young drivers

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Darrell Wallace Jr, a former driver for Kyle Busch in the Camping World Truck Series, called Busch’s criticism of NASCAR’s marketing of young drivers “dumb” and “stupid” Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour.

On Tuesday, Busch called a perceived emphasis on marketing young drivers over veterans “troublesome” and “stupid.”

The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran also claimed that drivers in Wallace’s generation “are bullied into doing more things than the older guys are because we say no a lot more because we’ve been there, done that and have families.”

When asked about Busch’s comments, the 24-year-old Wallace asked the gathered media, “You got video of this?”

He then let out of a mocking laugh.

“Ha Ha! That’s so dumb. So stupid,” Wallace said.

Wallace, who is embarking on his rookie Cup season with Richard Petty Motorsports, framed Busch’s comments as hypocritical based on his early years in the series. Busch’s rookie season was in 2005 at the age of 20.

“I know Kyle, I raced with him and I know how he is,” Wallace said. “I don’t know how old he is, 30 something, right? 32?  Damn, he’s that old? Getting up there, bud.  He was in the same kind of spot we were. They had the Gillette Young Guns back then. He’s still got the baby face now. Not really sure what he’s trying to say. He had kind of the same treatment we’re going through.”

Busch was made part of the Gillette program in 2011 with teammate Denny Hamlin. The program was established to highlight young NASCAR drivers in 2004. The 2011 class was the first to include athletes from other sports. Busch and Hamlin were the only NASCAR drivers included.

“I will say when certain drivers, if I ever get to this level, pinch me and try to bring me back down,” Wallace said. “But when it gets to a certain level, they stop doing stuff. Drivers stop doing stuff. We get requests all the time, some stuff we turn down, some stuff is like, ‘How does this help me? Does it help? Good. Ok, let’s do it.’

“It’s kind of like pulling teeth when you get well-established in the Cup Series.”

The comments reflect those made earlier in the afternoon by Wallace’s friend, Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney.

“I feel like if some drivers were more willing to do these things they’d get asked more to do it,” Blaney said. “The reason I get asked to do it a lot is because I say yes a lot. Because I think it’s good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally (Busch) doesn’t like do a lot of stuff so that’s why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff.”

Both Wallace and Blaney had cameo roles in Pixar’s Cars 3 film released last year. They also went viral with they took over NASCAR’s SnapChat account during a road trip to a track.

Wallace will be the first full-time African-American driver in Cup since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott competed in the late 60s.

Wallace explained how he approaches marketing opportunities that are presented by NASCAR.

“It’s one of those things where I look at how is it going to promote my brand, promote the sport and promote the youth movement,” Wallace said. “If I’m promoting the sport, that means I’m promoting everybody in this room. We’re all part of this sport together. It’s actually like, ‘You’re welcome,’ for doing the dirty work. I wouldn’t really call it dirty work because some of it’s fun. We get to go to LA and hang out and be on Nickelodeon and do all this stuff. We like doing that. I don’t have the M&M’s sponsor (Busch’s primary sponsor) to carry me full-time. I have 13 races. So I have to put myself out there, I have to sell myself. If NASCAR’s going to do that and I don’t have to pay for it, hell yeah, sign me up.”

When Wallace’s time with the media was up, he rose from his chair, accidentally dropping his phone on the ground.

“Let’s see if I got a text from Kyle yet,” Wallace joked as he leaned over to pick it up.

“Nope, not yet”

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