William Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. became the second Black driver in NASCAR’s 73-year history to win at the Cup Series level. On Oct. 4, Wallace won his first Victory Cup at Talladega Superspeedway after rain postponed and shortened the race known as the YellaWood 500.
Wallace took the lead on Lap 113 and navigated through a crash three laps later. Nevertheless, he was still in the lead when the race was called 118 laps into the 188-lap event.
“@BubbaWallace becomes the first Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since #NASCARHOF inductee Wendell Scott in 1963,” NASCAR tweeted after the race was declared official.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 4, 2021
Wallace became visibly emotional when his win was announced.
“It obviously brings a lot of emotion on and joy to my family, fans, friends. It’s pretty damn cool. Just proud to be a winner in the Cup series,” Wallace said after the race. “This is for all those kids out there that want to have an opportunity at whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do. You’re going to go through a lot of [expletive], but you always have to stay true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. Stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry. There have been plenty of times that I wanted to give up, but you surround yourselves with the right people and it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”
Last year, Wallace joined Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin as the driver for a new NASCAR team. 23XI Racing is the first full-time NASCAR premier racing team with a Black person as the majority owner since the 1970s.
In 1963, Wendell Scott became the first Black driver to win at NASCAR’s top level when he won a race in Jacksonville, Florida. However, Scott was not declared the victor for several months. Scott died in 1990, and NASCAR finally presented Scott’s family with a trophy for that race in August of this year.