Vroom! Bubba Wallace just won his first ever NASCAR Cup Series! Wallace not only won but made history Monday, becoming just the second black driver to ever win the NASCAR Cup Series, which is the top among professional race car drivers. Wallace is the first black person to win the Cup since 1963, when NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott came up victorious. During Scott’s time in the 60s he wasn’t declared the winner until long after Buck Baker was wrongfully awarded the trophy because of the state of racism in the country at the time.
Scott’s family was presented the trophy by NASCAR from the race two months ago. Despite the moment being huge for Wallace , he couldn't ignore its significance in a predominantly white sport with deep Southern roots and a longtime embrace of Confederate symbols. Wallace voiced his thoughts by stating "It's definitely been tough going to some of the tracks this year, we get some of the most boos now," Wallace said. "Everybody says as long as they're making noise that's fine, but you know, I get booed for different reasons, and that's the tough thing to swallow. I appreciate all those who were there doing the rain dance with us, pulling for us, supporting me my whole career, but especially those who have supported me with everything that's gone on in the last 15-16 months."
Just last year, June of 2020 at Talladega, NASCAR spotted a noose in the garage stall assigned to Wallace. The finding came just a week after NASCAR had banned the Confederate flag at its events at Wallace's urging, which led to an FBI hate-crime investigation. Wallace also has a big supporter on his side in NBA Legend Michael Jordan, who he is affiliated with driving for 23XI racing through Jordan Brand, helping Jordan earn his first ever victory as an owner in NASCAR.
Jordan uttered "I'm so happy for Bubba and our entire 23XI Racing team. This is a huge milestone and a historic win for us," Jordan said in a tweeted statement. "From the day we signed him, I knew Bubba had the talent to win and Denny and I could not be more proud of him. Let's go!" An animated Jordan was joyful for Wallace, despite many on social media calling the race rigged.
Wallace also expressed "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 choked back tears. "You're going to go through a lot of bulls---. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. Stay strong. Stay humble. Stay hungry. Been plenty of times when I wanted to give up."
Giving up was something Wallace never did, and now he stands on top of the NASCAR world as the NASCAR Cup Series champion and only the second black man to achieve that feat, inspiring many young black men around the world to chase their dreams.