Bubba Wallace made history at the YellaWood 500, becoming the first African-American NASCAR driver to win a premier series race in 58 years; after topping the podium, Wallace said: “It obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends. It’s pretty damn cool”
Last Updated: 05/10/21 7:10am
Bubba Wallace became the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s premier series since Wendell Scott in 1963, in a rain-affected meeting at the YellaWood 500.
A rainstorm engulfed the Talladega Superspeedway and the race was brought to a close after 117 of a planned 188 laps.
When asked about making history, Wallace said: “I never think about those things.
“But 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. Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.”
Wallace, who had taken the lead on lap 113, had to wait before learning the outcome of the race, after a crash brought out a caution, before the red flag was waved with conditions worsening.
At around 3.30pm central time, the race result was declared official because of wet track conditions and advancing darkness on a track that did not have lights.
Wallace won in a car owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and current Cup driver Denny Hamlin, and paid tribute to his team.
“Part of me is sitting there waiting,” Wallace said. “It’s not over with. If we go back to racing, that’s fine. But we had so many cool fans behind us in the pitbox just cheering for us so it kind of amped up the intensity a little bit but, man, so proud of everybody at 23XI (Racing).
“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 and I appreciated Denny for believing in me and giving me an opportunity. Like we talked, it is pretty fitting that it comes here at Talladega.
“This is for all those 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.
“You always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you and stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry.
“Plenty of times I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people and it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”
Wallace also made headlines in 2020 when he successfully called for NASCAR to ban the use of the Confederate flag at all events, becoming a prominent voice in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.