Monday, June 27

Excited Bubba Wallace reflects on becoming the second winner of a NASCAR Black Cup Series race: ‘It’s pretty cool’

Bubba Wallace became the second black driver in NASCAR history to win a race at its highest level of competition on Monday, driving to victory in a rain-shortened YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

With his first Cup victory, Wallace joins Wendell Scott as the only black drivers to accomplish the feat; Scott was the first to win the 1964 Jacksonville 200 on December 1, 1963.

MORE: NASCAR Results at Talladega: Bubba Wallace Makes History With His First Cup Win

The importance of the moment did not go unnoticed by Wallace, especially considering that the Mobile, Alabama native scored his first victory on the track of his hometown, where a year ago he experienced what he called a hurdle in his racing career that had to overcome. . Wallace, in a post-race interview with NBCSN, was clearly excited when asked to reflect on what victory meant to him:

“I never think about those things. And when you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends,” Wallace said. “It’s pretty cool. I’m proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.”

MORE: Sports World Reacts to Bubba Wallace’s First NASCAR Cup Win at Talladega

Wallace also didn’t shy away from his recent history at the racetrack. Although not explicitly mentioned in the post-race interview, Wallace won at Talladega more than a year after an incident where a rope was found hanging in his garage prior to the June 2020 race there. The FBI ruled out a hate crime after investigating the incident; NASCAR said the rope had been hanging in the garage since October 2019.

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Regardless, the incident sparked outrage and sparked a dialogue on issues of racism in NASCAR. Wallace, with whom fellow NASCAR drivers showed solidarity after the incident, is the only current black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and the first since Bill Lester in 2006.

MORE: NASCAR’s Full Explanation of the Bubba Wallace Rope Case at Talladega

Wallace said it was a significant victory after the events of last year.

“Yeah sure,” Wallace said. “This is for all those kids who want to have a shot at what they want to achieve, and be the best at what they want to do. And you’re going to go through a lot of bulls—. But you ‘always have to be true to your path and don’t let the nonsense get to you, and stay strong, humble, and hungry.

“There have been many times when I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people, and it’s times like this that you appreciate.”

Wallace followed up more on the incident in a post-trace interview with reporters, saying he felt a sense of deja vu after the way events unfolded in 2020:

“Obviously I still remember the day. It’s funny, I was sitting on the bus … after they called him yesterday. And I was close to texting (NASCAR president Steve Phelps), ‘I don’t want a phone call. ‘You know, because it was basically the same thing that happened: You know, rain delay, he canceled the race, he was going to run on Monday. And it was like, man, deja vu. But I didn’t text him or anything.

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“But you know, you think about those things when you come to this place. But for some reason I had a feeling that we were going to win. This was Friday. I was like, ‘You know, we’re going to go. Amanda said we were going to win. I had a friend of mine, Mamba, I said, ‘I’m going to go out there and win.’ So I documented it. “

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