In SummaryWallace’s win in Talladega marks the second time a Black driver has won a NASCAR cup race.
Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby said it best: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
At the Talladega Superspeedway on Monday, Bubba Wallace became first Black driver to win top NASCAR race since 1963, and just the second Black driver to win at NASCAR’s top Cup Series level.
Wallace’s win didn’t come easy. He had to maneuver through a crash, a packed field of talented drivers and a steady downpour of rain. The rain wouldn’t stop, which forced him and other drivers to wait, and wait and wait some more.
NASCAR called off the rest of the race and declared Wallace the winner.
“Got some credibility to my name now,” said Wallace, a first-time Cup winner in his 143 starts. “I’m just like, ‘Finally, I’m a winner and I’m a winner in the Cup level,’ and it’s just like ‘Hell yeah!’ It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Wallace has been waiting patiently for this win. He is in his first season driving for 23X1 Racing, a team owned by both Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
“It’s just way more emotional because I know how difficult it is. These guys have worked so hard over the last 10 months to put this team together,” Hamlin said. “We’re still in the beginning stages of our team. We’re still growing. We’ve got some great things on the horizon. It’s just a great morale booster for everyone.”
Wallace received praise from Bill Lester, a Black driver who raced intermittently in NASCAR from 1999 through a Truck series.
Wallace knows this victory was more than about him, but the future of NASCAR.
“This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity and whatever they want to achieve, and be the best at what they want to do,” Wallace said as he fought back the tears. “You’re going to go through a lot of [BS]. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you.”