Bubba Wallace took home his first NASCAR Cup Series win, and 23XI owner/basketball legend Michael Jordan celebrated the historic moment on social media.
The polarizing NASCAR driver picked up his first win in a rain-shortened Talladega race in Alabama. Rain pushed the race to Monday, and with more storms threatening, racing officials called the victory at 3:30 p.m., just after the race halfway point.
According to Yahoo! News, NASCAR officials felt the track couldn’t be prepared for the best racing conditions before sunset with no lights and the superspeedway’s long track.
Unfortunately, Bubba Wallace learned about his win, sitting in a chair. But when he did, he yelled and jumped out of the chair to celebrate. The driver hugged his crew and was off to do interviews minutes later.
Breakthrough win for Wallace
After the race, the Alabama native said his determination paid off.
“This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve,” Bubba Wallace said. “You’re going to go through a lot of bulls**t. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you.”
The 27-year-old driver from Mobile had a short, one-word Twitter post for fans too.
Fans can call Monday’s race a fluke, but Wallace was up at the front all day. I’m still bitter about Trevor Bayne’s 2011 Daytona win. Bayne goes down in history as the youngest to win a Daytona 500. David Ragan about near had that race.
Bubba Wallace, Jordan Make History
Wallace’s win is the first for a Black driver since Wendell Scott’s controversial win. According to NASCAR, Scott’s lone Cup Series victory came on Dec. 1, 1963, in Jacksonville, Fla. Fellow racer Buck Baker was initially flagged as the winner, but a protest and a later scoring recount gave the triumph to Scott.
For the May 4 Darlington race, Wallace’s No. 23 car had a paint scheme to honor Scott.
“I never think about those things,” Bubba Wallace said of being the first Black man in 58 years to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. “When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy . . . Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.”
However, this was Jordan’s first win for a Black NASCAR owner in NASCAR Cup Series history. The 58-year-old also owns the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and founded a Cup racing team with Denny Hamlin last year. The 23XI team is in its first season.
Before Monday, Bubba Wallace’s best finish was second at Daytona (Aug. 28) for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Before joining Jordan’s team, he raced for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Monday’s win was not Wallace’s first in NASCAR. He’s had six Camping World Truck Series wins in the past.