Bubba Wallace made history Monday afternoon; celebrated with phone calls to his mom and fiancé, then shared a message for today’s youth.
“This is for all those kids out there that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve, be the best at what they do.
“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, stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry. Been plenty of times where I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people, it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”
The “moments like this” Wallace was referring to came literally minutes earlier when he made history by becoming the first Black race car driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since Wendell Scott in 1963.
Wallace, 27, won the race during the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama which had been delayed by rain. It was the first victory for a Black driver in NASCAR’s premier series since Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott who won at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, on Dec. 1, 1963.
Former NBA star Michael Jordan co-owns the 23XI Racing team of which Wallace is a member.
“I know a lot of history was made today I believe, which is really cool. But it’s about my guys, about our team, what we’ve done. Appreciate Michael Jordan for giving me an opportunity. Just so proud of everybody at 23XI.
“It’s super special for me to go out and compete and do what I love to do, go out and win some races, make our sponsors happy, make our team happy.”
Of being the second African American, and the first since Scott, to win on this level, Wallace said it was “pretty damn cool.”
“Yeah, I never think about those things. 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 got to be a winner in the Cup Series.”
He also acknowledged being a role model to many kids, specifically African American youth who may one day follow in his footsteps and the support of so many fans.
“Knowing we have a whole fan base back home watching on TV or whether it’s on the track, wherever they are, they’re supporting me. Having kids that want to be in my shoes one day, it’s cool. It’s tough to get to where we’re at. Just stick with it and you’ll be here one day.”