He’s currently the only Black driver in the series!
Bubba Wallace just won his first NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway, USA Today reports.
Wallace has been making history as the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, recently signing on to 23XI Racing, the first Black majority owned NASCAR Cup team, helmed by basketball icon, Michael Jordan. Now, he’s made history, winning his first NASCAR Cup Series and becoming only the second Black driver to win at the premier level, the first being Wendell Scott in 1963.
“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. It’s pretty damn cool. So just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series,” Wallace told reporters after the historic victory.
“Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.”advertisement
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 4, 2021
The event was postponed due to several rain delays, first being moved from Sunday to Monday and then pausing multiple times on the day of. After 117 laps, pouring rain began and Wallace was declared the winner, his first and a first for the 23XI Racing team.
Per NASCAR rules, in order for a race to be official, at least half of the scheduled laps have to be completed, usually the first two race stages or whichever comes first. So even though there were three remaining laps left in Monday’s race, they had already crossed the halfway point of 188 total laps. When drivers were forced to pull onto the pit road because of the weather conditions, Wallace exited his Toyota and began cheering, knowing what was at stake if the race was forced to be called. He was also greeted by several drivers who also seemed excited at his possible win by rain-shortening default.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 4, 2021
“So many cool fans behind us in the pit box just cheering for it to rain, and it kind of amped up the intensity a little bit. But man, just so proud of everybody at 23XI. New team coming in and getting a win late in the season. Reminds me of 2013, waited so long to get that first Truck [Series] win. I know a lot of history was made today, I believe, which is really cool. But it’s about my guys, about our team, about what we’ve done. Appreciate Michael Jordan, appreciate Denny for believing in me, giving me an opportunity. Like we talked, it’s pretty fitting that it comes here at Talladega,” said Wallace.
Last season, Talladega was investigated by the FBI after a noose was found hanging in the garage assigned to Wallace’s old team. While the FBI concluded that the noose had been there since the previous season and was not a hate crime, Wallace advocated against racism in the sport and successfully got NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at all of their events.
The win came just days before Wallace’s 28th birthday on October 8th. This is his fourth full-time Cup Series and his sixth career top-5 finish.
Photo Courtesy of NASCAR/Twitter