Rajah Caruth Gets Historic First NASCAR Win at Las Vegas

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Rajah Caruth Gets Historic First NASCAR Truck WinChris Graythen - Getty Images

Rajah Caruth entered the NASCAR Truck race at Las Vegas Speedway on the pole and left Friday night with his first victory. Caruth became the third Black driver to win a NASCAR national series race in the history of the sport.

Caruth was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents and grew up in the nation’s capital Washington DC. His first experience racing came through the iRacing platform similar to the reigning Daytona 500 Champion William Byron.

This weekend it was clear that a pole was not going to be enough for the 21-year-old driver, as he dodged questions about his performance before the race. This pole came after two top-ten results to start the season with a third-place finish at Daytona and an eighth at Atlanta.


Caruth was able to survive two tough crash-fests for these results to the delight of Rick Hendrick, who on Thursday, February 29th extended sponsorship of Caruth and the No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet to the full season.

This is Caruth’s first season with Spire and second full-time season in the NASCAR Truck Series.

A bad pit stop, five seconds off the pace, cost Caruth track positions and he had to charge back to the front in the final stage. After a final well-executed pit stop, Caruth was able to lead with 20 laps remaining. From the front of the pack, with history on the line, Caruth was able to defend the lead until he collected the elusive checkered flag.

“I stayed cool, we lost track position at little portions of the race and we stayed in the game,” Caruth told NASCAR on Fox after climbing out at the start/finish line, “It was just one step, one punch, one round at a time. My guys had me a great stop and we executed. There’s more to come.”

Caruth entered NASCAR through Drive for Diversity, a program started to help nurture an ‘inclusive environment in all facets of the NASCAR industry recognizing the value of diversity’ while uplifting athletes and voices with less power in the historic environment of the sport. This program partnered with Caruth’s natural skills and hard-working mentality put the driver in front of the right people and in the the right conversations for his career to take off.

Drivers from around the motorsports world flocked online to congratulate Caruth, but for few, it meant as much as it did for Bubba Wallace. As the most recent Black driver to win a NASCAR race and a mentor of sorts to Caruth, Wallace took this victory to heart.

Wallace won his first NASCAR national series race in the Truck season in 2017, he has since gone on to win five more truck races and two Cup races, but his first win came almost 54 years after Wendall Scott became the first African American driver to win in NASCAR.

Scott sat alone in the records book until the day he died in 1990, three years before Wallace was born and 12 years before Caruth. More than five decades separated wins from Black drivers in NASCAR when Wallace won in 2017. This time we only had to wait seven years.

Since 2017, Wallace has kept a tweet pinned to the top of his account acknowledging that he’s the only driver with an African American background in the sport and what that means.

Wallace has since unpinned the tweet because he proudly no longer stands alone. As this piece goes live the top of his Twitter profile instead shows Caruth celebrating in victory lane.

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