Bubba Wallace Finished 17th at the Daytona 500 and Still Made NASCAR History Thanks to Michael Jordan
Bubba Wallace made his debut for Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team on Sunday at the Daytona 500 and accomplished history on Lap 129 in the No. 23 Toyota car.
Even though Wallace finished in 17th place, the superstar driver should be proud of his achievement since he’s inspiring a whole new generation of Black drivers.
Michael Jordan speaks out on picking Bubba Wallace to be his driver
Michael Jordan could have picked anyone to be his driver for 23XI Racing. The Chicago Bulls legend, along with Denny Hamlin, knew Bubba Wallace was the perfect guy since the 27-year-old is eager to get better every day and motivated to become the first Black driver to win a NASCAR race.
“I feel like he’s going to learn how to win. He’s got the talent,” Jordan told Fox Sports, via ESPN. “We would not have invested in him and picked him if he didn’t have the talent to win. By the end of the year, I think he’s going to have an opportunity and probably will win at least a couple of races. If it’s more, I’d be elated.”
Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, is the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup Series team in nearly 50 years. Meanwhile, Wallace is the only full-time Black driver at NASCAR’s top level. He caught the eye of Jordan after successfully getting NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at racetracks last summer.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan and Wallace never met in person until the week of the Daytona 500. The six-time NBA champion is a huge NASCAR fan, as his late father would take the entire family to races when MJ was a kid growing up in North Carolina.
Michael Jordan is a winner, so he’s got to be a little upset that neither Bubba Wallace nor Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500. However, the NBA Hall of Famer will surely take pride in the fact that Wallace made NASCAR history on Lap 129.
Bubba Wallace became the first Black driver to lead a lap at the Daytona 500
Bubba Wallace became the first Black driver in NASCAR history to lead a lap in the Daytona 500. He was in first place on Lap 129.
Unfortunately, Wallace was forced to pit with 22 laps left in the race. He fell a lap down as a result of his pit stop. Denny Hamlin, who co-owns 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan, finished in fifth place.
Jordan’s No. 23 Toyota failed inspection twice before the Daytona 500 began. The car passed on the third attempt, but Wallace had to start from the back of the field.
Jordan should be proud of what Wallace accomplished on Sunday despite not winning the race. To become the first Black driver to lead a lap in the Daytona 500 is no small feat.
Moving forward, Bubba Wallace figures to get more comfortable with Michael Jordan’s No. 23 Toyota car. With that being said, don’t be surprised if the rising NASCAR star wins his first race soon.
NASCAR celeb took to Twitter following the end of the race
Bubba Wallace was disappointed with how the Daytona 500 ended for him. He tweeted to his followers on Twitter that he was upset with his decision-making after the nasty crash on the final lap.
Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano got into a big wreck, which helped Michael McDowell win the Daytona 500. McDowell won for the first time in 358 Cup starts.
It was a rough start for Michael Jordan and Bubba Wallace after the No. 23 Toyota car failed inspection twice. However, both men will learn from their mistakes and improve as the NASCAR season moves along in 2021.