NASCAR has been in the news more than usual over the past year. Much of it is because of Bubba Wallace and his efforts to change the league into being more welcoming and inclusive for all demographics. His efforts have helped the sport gain popularity and bring new fans into the racing community.
Outside of all the positive changes he’s influenced, Wallace is a pretty good driver. He’s been in the racing game for quite some time now, since his childhood.
Bubba Wallace is a rising star in NASCAR
Many might not know much about Bubba Wallace and his career as a NASCAR driver. He’s relatively new to the scene, beginning his career in the NASCAR Cup Series career in 2017. Wallace was a part of their truck series, making a name for himself there. He won six total Camping World Truck Series, making him a rising star in the NASCAR world.
Wallace finished second place for rookie of the year in 2018 after what was an impressive season. He finished second in the Daytona 500 that year and had two other finishes in the top 10 that season. His success through the lower ranks of NASCAR was finally starting to pay off. He is the only full-time black driver on the NASCAR Cup Series, being the first one since Wendell Scott.
Despite the success at lower levels and finally breaking into top-flight NASCAR races, Wallace faced another problem: racism. He’s experienced at events and called out the league for its passive stance on having the confederate flag associated with their sport. Wallace led the charge to force the league to remove the flag from events and ban it from future ones. There was also an incident about a rope that resembled a noose in his garage before a race.
Bubba Wallace’s efforts to remove the confederate flag and promote more inclusion in the sport has catapulted him into stardom. He continues to be a voice for change and is improving as a driver also. Wallace’s impressive career wouldn’t have happened if his dad didn’t make a big vehicle purchase.
Bubba Wallace’s dad helped him fall in love with NASCAR
Since he was a young kid, Bubba Wallace loved racing. His dad introduced him to the sport, even helping him sharpen his skills when he got older. Wallace and his father have formed a special bond over racing. When his dad went to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, that is when Wallace fell in love with the sport of racing.
When Wallace’s father purchased the motorcycle, the seller asked him and Wallace if they wanted to join him at a go-karting race. They both said yes, and when they were at the event, Wallace was sold on becoming a racecar driver.
“We went. We were sitting there watching, and I still remember this; my Dad turns to me and said, ‘Is this something you think you would like to try,'” said Wallace, per the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The answer was obviously yes, and the rest was history. Wallace and his father worked together on his racing skills, turning him into a young racing prodigy. He won 35 of 48 races in the Bandolero Series in 2005, an entry-level racing league. His hard work and dedication toward racing have paid off, as he has lofty expectations in 2021.
What’s in store for Wallace in 2021?
After 2020 put Bubba Wallace on the map in the world of NASCAR, he now has to take advantage of the publicity on the track. He is still looking for his first Cup Series victory, something he hopes to accomplish this upcoming season. He will have the right people in his corner to help him get the first career win.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin to launch a NASCAR Cup Series team for the 2021 season. The new team, called 23XI Racing, selected Wallace as their driver. Jordan becomes the first black majority owner in NASCAR since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in the 1960s and 70s. Fittingly, Wallace will be driving the No. 23 car for Jordan’s team.
Wallace and Jordan make their debut as a team at the Daytona 500. Wallace has performed well there, so there are expectations for a win. When Michael Jordan is involved, the only option is winning. Wallace understands what comes with teaming up with Jordan and how success is expected from him.
“At the end of the day, he wants winning race cars, wants winning race drivers. And he took an opportunity to invest into me, and he’s seen something that sparked his interest to make this deal happen and move forward with it along with Denny,” said Wallace per Autoweek.
Bubba Wallace is trending in the right direction in terms of his NASCAR career. He has one of the greatest athletes ever in his corner and can make an impact as the first driver for 23XI Racing. If his dad never bought that Harley Davidson, who knows where Wallace would be right now.