Storming To The Top: Bubba Wallace Wins Rain Shortened Cup Series Event At Talladega

Bubba Wallace celebrates his first NASCAR Cup Series victory Monday at Talladega Superspeedway (Photo: NASCAR)

It’s fair to say Bubba Wallace has been a lighting rod for both positivity and negativity since 2013 when he arrived full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Fittingly, his first victory at NASCAR’s highest level came amidst a storm, literally, Monday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

Wallace won the rain shortened YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Monday. The race, which was postponed by rain on Sunday, was stopped after 117 laps of the scheduled 188 laps because of rain.

Wallace became just the second black driver to win a race in NASCAR Cup Series, joining Wendell Scott, who accomplished the feat on Dec. 1, 1963.

Wallace raced from 2018 to 2020 for Richard Petty Motorsports. This season he joined the first-year 23XI Racing team owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan and Cup Series veteran Denny Hamlin.

“I’m just proud of everybody at 23XI,” Wallace said. “New team, coming in and getting a win late in the season. … I know a lot of history was made today I believe, which is really cool. But it’s about my guys, it’s about our team, it’s about what we’ve done. I appreciate Michael Jordan, I appreciate Denny [Hamlin] for believing me and giving me the opportunity.”

It proved an emotional day for Wallace, who has faced plenty of backlash and hate for much of his time in NASCAR’s national divisions.

“I never think about those things,” Wallace said when asked about being the second black driver to win in the Cup Series. “… It obviously brings a lot of emotion out. … It’s pretty damn cool. I’m just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.

“This is for all those kids that want to have an opportunity at whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do. You’re going to go through a lot of bullshit, but you’ve always got to stay true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. Stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry. There have been plenty of time when I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people and there’s moments like this when you appreciate it.”

Fellow Cup Series competitor Ryan Blaney was one of the first people to congratulate Wallace after the race was officially called.

“There’s been some tough times for him for sure,” Blaney told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. “All the stuff he gets hassled about from close-minded people and ignorant people and things like that. He’s got to deal with a lot of that and I don’t think a lot of people really see that, and he has to deal with it. He’s a good person and a lot of things that are said to him – through social media or whatnot – can be hurtful and that can stick on your mind. I think he does a good job blocking it out, but no one can block all that out.”

Wallace had six victories in 49 starts in the Camping World Truck Series. He is winless in 86 starts in the Xfinity Series since 2012. Monday’s event at Talladega was his 142nd in the Cup Series.

“These guys have just worked so hard over the last 10 months to put this team together,” Hamlin said. “We’ve spent a lot of hours getting this all put together and it’s great to see the results from all the hard work from these team guys. … It means so much. It’s a learning process. We knew it was going to be a learning process. I’m so happy for the team. … It’s just a building step. We’re still in the beginning stages of our team. We’re still growing. We’ve got some great things on the horizon.”

The Wallace team includes multiple connections to the Northeast short track racing scene. Wallace’s spotter, Freddie Kraft, is a Long Island native and former spotter with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The team’s director of competition, Mike Wheeler, was a former crew chief in the SK Modified and Whelen Modifed Tour ranks with team owner Eddie Partridge.

Comments

  1. chicken coop says

    Well deserved win!! since coming to Cup, he’s been driving subpar cars. When he ran good xfinity cars he was a front runner, trucks too. He can drive, no doubt about it, just needs a good team behind him, hopefully this is the start of success for that team. But the highlight of the weekend is definetly “Let’s Go Brandon”… Lol

  2. Hey , Say What You Want. It Was A Matter Of Time. He Can Obviously Drive!! Great Job Bubba!! Wendell Is Smiling Down!!

  3. You like that don’t you? “Let’s go Brandon”. As do most of the people reading this I suspect. Not Brandon but what was really said.
    Booing the president in the attendance at events is well accepted. They all have gotten the treatment. This takes it up a notch or several.
    Biden wasn’t at the event. The attempt to cover up what was said being mocked joyfully in the predictable media circles. An audience with no express reason to be profane on national TV embarrassing Nascar by playing into the pretty typical stereotype of a southern audience and especially a race related southern audience. Embarrassing sponsors as well that paid a lot of money to advertise their products to people all across the country.
    It’s kind of a thing now not just at this race but at southern college football games as well. The timing on this however especially interesting.
    So good for us yet another demonstration of a divided country using foul language in front of a nationwide audience. Brought to you from the deep south a place that prides themselves on hospitality and family values.
    In a recent pole around mid thirties of those poled feel they would like their state to secede from the country. More popular in red states but there is sentiment everywhere for it and from both sides. I myself am sick of the division, would like the concept of a regional spit in a serious national discussion from other parts of the country we will never see eye to eye.
    Maybe it’s time to have that discussion nationally for a couple good reasons. First we are more divided then any time since the Civil War and look how that turned out. Secondly we can’t control our debt and perhaps in smaller units with a citizenry that is closer to the top echelon they may be more willing to support their leaders as opposed to what we have now.
    I open up my Yahoo browser that always provides a good cross section of news stories but it’s clear they are addicted to the past president, everything he utters or does or has done. They’re addicted to the division as well. If I could purchase a filter to drop stories with that name it would be well worth it. Now we can’t event escape it watching football games or race events and with foul language as well.
    Breaking up is hard to do but it may be time to talk about it.

  4. Across the South? How bout Yankee Stadium.

  5. Great Job by Bubba, and his team.I always thought that if he was given good equipment and a knowledgeable crew chief he could win races. Hopefully this is the first of many. Having Kurt as a teammate next season may elevate him even more, then again 2022 is going to be the great equalizer with the introduction of the next gen car.

  6. Bill Realist says

    What about the other half of his heritage? How about a young driver getting his first win. I don’t know why people have to be put into categories. I would prefer just human thanks

  7. Bill Realist wrote, “What about the other half of his heritage? How about a young driver getting his first win. I don’t know why people have to be put into categories. I would prefer just human thanks”

    What other half of his heritage? Please explain. What other half are you asking about? And what are both halves?

    Why are you categorizing him as a young driver.

    You just questioned why people are put into categories, then you did just that.

    When some category of humans, such as crazy white people, oppress and suppress all other categories of people, it is indeed very important to note when people of color overcome the crazy white people oppression.

    “There is separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.” – Al Einstein

  8. Stuart A Fearn says

    Good for Bubba. Solid racer, top quality owned team, might just do something. This may be a tipping point for Bubba and the MJ owned organization. Good to see really for the sport in general I think.
    As far as the chanting, I heard it last night at Fenway during the wild card game. It’s everywhere, not just the south that is for sure. The guy is doing a terrible job, lets be honest, and the public is fed up. The news can’t block out john Q public chanting what they think on a live broadcast. Very interesting to see where this goes. Could be the next viral thing to do, who knows. Not good for the country in general but the president hate really got turned up 10 notches with the last one so it goes to show you have to be careful what you ask for!

  9. Fast Eddie says

    Congrats to Bubba and 23XI on your first win! I’m sure there will be more! Been a fan for a long while and glad to see you “get one”!

  10. People are fed up you say. I buy that. About 42% were fed up after the election and a large percentage of them still believe their man didn’t even lose. On the other hand about 43% aren’t fed up at all and approve of the job the current president is doing. So what are we talking about here 10% that were satisfied but no longer are?
    And what exactly is there to be fed up with. Even after the latest setbacks the stock market is still up 10% since February so your 401K’s have done well. If you own a house forget about it. Inflation is working in your favor on that one. The unemployment rate continues to go down and jobs plentiful. Vaccine roll out went well for states like in New England that supported it and the infection rates have stayed manageable. And there is the matter of those checks most Americans got earlier in the year. Bet that money helped a few race teams with expenses this year.
    I’m feeling as good about Shotgun Joe as I am the Patriots sitting at 1 and 3 with all that’s needed is time and patience. The Pats are starting to gel and hopefully Sunday against a weak Texans team will start a run of success. Afghanistan, the southern border and fuel prices that plague the administration now will look considerably different in a year.
    Anyone that has driven a race car knows that when you see a wreck developing the best thing to do more often then not is to head right for it if you’ve got the stones cause odds are it won’t be there by the time your car gets to it. If you’re thinking the poll numbers are on your side and the foul chanting at sports events bodes well as you head toward the wreck you’re counting on to be there a word of caution. It may not be there when it counts and you need it the most.

  11. Great run by Bubba Wallace, he always runs well at Daytona and Talladega, also glad to see Michael Jordan’s investment in NASCAR paying off for him

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