Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr: Races Into History One Mile At A Time
Black history and Black excellence are being made daily, but it just so happened that on the same weekend that the movie Black Panther bust Hollywood stereotypes and box office records, NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. drove into the history books as the first African-American driver to race in the NASCAR Cup Series since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in 1971.
In his first race, Wallace finished second in the 60th Daytona 500 behind winner Austin Dillon; it was the highest finish by an African-American in the history of the sport.
Driving the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Richard Petty Motorsports, Wallace survived the multicar crashes that took out Danica Patrick, Chase Elliot and Jimmie Johnson.
After the race, perhaps feeling the weight of history on his shoulders, Bubba broke down in tears as he hugged his mother, Desiree Wallace. Balling, he he said to her, “You act like we won the race.”
“We did,” she responded.
Then, it was at this point the tears really started to flow as he attempted to explain the meaning.
“It’s a sensitive subject, but I’m just so emotional over where my family has been the last two years and I don’t talk about it,” Wallace said. “But it’s just so hard, and so having them here to support me is … pull it together, bud. Pull it together. You just finished second. It’s awesome.
“I just try so hard to be successful at everything I do, and my family pushes me each and every day. And they might not even know it, but I just want to make them proud. Second is horrible, but it’s still a good day. But yeah, I just love my family and having everybody here from my mom, my sister, my uncle, everybody here just means a lot.”
But this isn’t the first time that Wallace has made the history books.
On October 26, 2013, Wallace became the first African-American driver to win in one of NASCAR’s national series since 1963, winning the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The only previous win by an African-American driver was by…