Bubba Wallace became just the second black driver to win NASCAR’s top Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway.
Over fifty years ago, in 1963, Wendell Scott was the first African American to win at the highest level of NASCAR.
Wallace, 27, broke down in tears after he returned to his parked No. 23 Toyota.
‘This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity in 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 b******t. 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,’ he added.
When asked about being the first black man to win the NASCAR Cup Series race since 1963, he said: ‘I never think about those things. When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy…’
Bubba Wallace celebrates next to the trophy after winning a NASCAR Cup series auto race Monday, October 4, 2021, in Talladega, Alabama. The race was stopped mid-race due to rain.
‘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
Bubba Wallace became just the second black driver to win at NASCAR’s top Cup Series level
The race was initially scheduled for Sunday but it had to be postponed because of the rain, which also made its appearance today.
Wallace drove through a crash and to the front of the field five laps before the second rain stoppage of the race.
NASCAR tried to dry the track for nearly 45 minutes, but called things off as sunset approached and the rain showed no sign of ceasing.
Wallace was waiting atop his pit stand and celebrated wildly with his crew when the race was called. He is in his first season driving for 23X1 Racing, a team owned by both Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. Wallace’s car number was picked for Jordan, who wore 23 in the NBA.
He said he never thought about the significance of earning his first career Cup race at the same track in his native Alabama; he was born in Mobile.
‘When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, my friends. It´s pretty cool,’ he said.
Bill Lester, a Black driver who raced intermittently in NASCAR from 1999 through one Trucks Series start this season, tweeted his congratulations to Wallace.
‘Finally, it’s official, you’ve done it!’ he posted. ‘So proud of you and what you’ve accomplished. Your win moves the @NASCAR needle forward on so many fronts. Glad I was a witness.’
In June 2020 at Talladega, NASCAR discovered 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.
The FBI investigated and found that the noose was tied at the end of the garage door pull and had been there for months, meaning Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime. But the entire industry rallied around him and stood in solidarity with Wallace at his car at the front of the grid before the race.
Over fifty years ago, in 1963, Wendell Scott (pictured) was the first African American to win at the highest level of NASCAR
Bubba Wallace, center, celebrates with teammates as he stands next to the trophy after winning a NASCAR Cup series auto race Monday
Team members of a car Bubba Wallace drives is pushed off pit row on October 3, after the race had to be postponed for Monday
The flag ban has been an issue at Talladega, where a convoy of vehicles has paraded up and down Speedway Boulevard outside the main entrance of the speedway in all four race weekends since NASCAR said it would not permit the symbol inside its tracks. The convoy was back this weekend and included one car pulling a trailer that contained a Civil War-era cannon.
Wallace has called the noose incident a low point in his life. He’s been subjected to nonstop online harassment that last year even included a tweet from then-President Donald Trump that falsely accused Wallace of making up the noose.
Wallace never saw the noose and was only told about it by NASCAR President Steve Phelps after the FBI had already been summoned to investigate.
Wallace went to a makeshift victory lane inside an empty garage stall to celebrate with his 23XI Racing team. The organization was formed a year ago and Wallace was the centerpiece based on all the corporations that entered NASCAR in support of Wallace and his social justice efforts.
Wallace’s win was his first in 142 career Cup starts, although he had six victories in the Truck Series from 2013 through 2015.
No playoff drivers won a race at Talladega this weekend and only Denny Hamlin is already locked into the third round of the playoffs headed into next week’s elimination race at Charlotte, North Carolina.
Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, celebrated with Wallace following his seventh-place finish.
Wallace’s win was his first in 142 career Cup starts, although he had six victories in the Truck Series from 2013 through 2015
NASCAR at last presented Scott’s family with his trophy from that race just two months ago, more than 30 years after his death, and 47 years after he won the top Cup Series level
‘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.’
Brad Keselowski finished second and was followed by Team Penske teammate Joey Logano in a pair of Fords. Busch was fourth in a Chevrolet.
Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman and William Byron head to Charlotte in danger of elimination.
The final race in the second round of the playoffs is at The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The hybrid road course/oval is where the field of 12 will be trimmed to eight. Chase Elliott is the two-time defending race winner at The Roval. His victory last October was his first of three wins in the final five races that lofted Elliott to his first Cup championship.
Wallace is the first Black driver to win at NASCAR’s elite Cup level since Wendell Scott in 1963 – a race where he wasn’t declared the victor for several months. NASCAR at last presented Scott’s family with his trophy from that race two months ago.
Wendell Scott, the first black driver to ever win NASCAR’s top Cup Series but was awarded a trophy 47 years after the race, and 30 years after his death
Bubba Wallace is the first black driver to win at NASCAR’s elite Cup level since Wendell Scott in 1963 – a race where he wasn’t declared the victor for several months.
Scott was born in 1921. Like his father, who worked as a driver for wealthy white families , Scott was passionate about mechanics from a young age.
During World War II, Scott worked as a mechanic at the European Theater and when he returned to rural southern Virginia, he married and had seven children.
Like his father, who worked as a driver for wealthy white families , Scott was passionate about mechanics from a young age
Scott was so skilled that he was soon racing his own cars
He then did moonshine running and, because of his impressive racing skills, in 1952 he started to race his own cars.
Despite his prolific wins, NASCAR repeatedly refused his entries until due to racism, in 1961, he was sold a NASCAR license by a steward in Richmond.
On December 1, 1963, Scott won the 100-mile Cup Series race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, but it was Buck Baker, a popular white racer, who was declared the winner.
Baker was celebrated, posed with the trophy queen and was interviewed by the media.
Scott, however, was sure that he was the real winner so he requested a scoring review. At the time, the reviews were done manually and subject to human error.
After two hours, officials realized Scott was, indeed, the winner. But Baker had already left with the trophy, and nobody had stayed to celebrate Scott’s victory.
Despite his prolific wins, NASCAR repeatedly refused his entries due to racism, until a steward sold a NASCAR license to him in 1963
Scott continued to compete, despite his low budget and never receiving commercial sponsorship
Scott and his small crew headed back to Virginia.
Two long years after the race, NASCAR recognized Scott as the race’s winner but did not give him a trophy.
Scott continued to compete, despite his low budget and never receiving commercial sponsorship. In 1969, he earned the most in his racing career with a $47,451 income.
He was forced to retire after an injury he suffered racing at Talladega in 1973.
Scott died on December 23, 1990, in Virginia of spinal cancer.
NASCAR at last presented Scott’s family with his trophy from that race just two months ago, more than 30 years after his death, and 47 years after he won the top Cup Series level.