Bubba Wallace won his first NASCAR Cup Series race on Monday in Talladega. It was unquestionably the pinnacle of his racing career thus far and a historic moment in NASCAR, becoming just the second Black driver to win in the Cup Series and the first in more than 57 years.
After the race, an understandably happy Wallace candidly talked about how he’s managed to deal with the haters in his career. He also admitted that in all of the celebration, there was a single regret.
Bubba Wallace overcame criticism and own personal struggles to win first Cup Series race
Bubba Wallace found success early in his career, racing in the K&N Pro Series East, winning six times from 2010-12. He stepped up to the NASCAR Truck Series and won five times from 2013-14. Since the trucks, Wallace raced a couple of years with Xfinity before moving full-time to the Cup Series in 2018.
As he’s steadily made his way up the ranks, he’s dealt with anxiety and depression. He’s openly talked about managing his mental health. In 2020, he had much more to manage when he became the unofficial spokesperson for NASCAR in the national conversation on social justice issues.
That higher profile resulted in increased criticism. Despite it all, Wallace continued to use his platform while racing. This season, for the first time in his Cup career, he drives competitive, race-winning equipment. On Monday, he drove that equipment to the first win of his career at Talladega and made history in the process, becoming the first Black driver in more than 57 years to win at NASCAR’s highest level.
Bubba Wallace talks about dealing with the haters and reveals one regret from winning race on Monday
After the race, a jubilant Wallace made the rounds with the media. When asked how he’s managed to deal with the haters and the increased criticism over the last 15 months, the 27-year-old from Alabama admitted it hasn’t been easy, but he’s had a lot of help along the way.
“Some sleepless nights, talking to professionals to help me stay focused on the task at hand,” Wallace acknowledged. “Really listening to my family. Amanda being there pushing me. I go into some of these races and I just have a negative attitude and she rips me an ass to get in shape and to show up with some positivity. So I appreciate her.”
Wallace then revealed the one regret he had from winning the race on Monday, a day after it was originally scheduled to run but got delayed because of rain.
“I hate that she couldn’t be here,” he said of his fiancee. “She had to fly back home for work last night.”
Got engaged in July
Amanda Carter has been there to motivate Bubba Wallace since the two started dating. This summer, during NASCAR’s two-week break due to the Olympics, Wallace showed his commitment to Carter when he revealed on social media that they were now engaged.
“Why I waited so long..we will never know. The wait is over!! Here’s to forever! Forever ever!” Wallace wrote on a Twitter post that featured four pictures of him and Carter, including one with the driver proposing on one knee.
Wallace’s first Cup Series win on Monday might have been without his fiancee in attendance, but there’s hope and now confidence there will be other opportunities for her to witness one in the future. Because as he admitted, he couldn’t have done it without her.