Updated: Oct 13, 2021
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Bubba Wallace is quickly becoming a household name and an emerging media icon. A huge historic event happened on October 3rd at the YellaWood 500 in Talladega, Alabama and we’re betting that most Americans missed it entirely. On Sunday NASCAR held its annual Talladega speedway race at one of the biggest fastest tracks on the circuit. For the first time in modern NASCAR history, a black driver won a NASCAR race. Bubba Wallace driving the 23 car owned by Michael Jordan and Superstar driver Denny Hamlin (pictured below with Wallace) won the Talladega race on Monday, October 4th 2021.
The date will be marked down in the NASCAR history books and is considered one of the highlights of the 2021 year in sports. After taking the lead just before an accident brought the caution out, Wallace was declared the winner of the YellaWood 500 at Talladega as persistent rain prevented NASCAR from drying the racetrack. The race was declared official after 118 of 188 laps, giving Wallace his first career win in the Cup Series and 23XI Racing's first win as a team.
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Winning at Talladega, one of the biggest and most thrilling tracks in the world is huge for Wallace and the 23 team. Doing it in his home state of Alabama surely sweetens the taste of victory. Being a hot item in sports and entertainment also comes with its detractors, and Talladega also has its memories of drama from 2020. This is also the very same track that was ground zero for the NASCAR's Confederate flag removal decision and the subsequent fallout after a noose was found in Wallace's garage. Its fitting that the big win happened here. Wins are hard to come by in any racing league and NASCAR is no different. Aside from the few powerhouse teams and drivers in NASCAR's most prestigious league, few others get to crack the top ten at all. Now Wallace is among them and will be fighting to climb in the point standings and playoffs.
The power and impact is just beginning to sink in around the world, and especially in the world of news, sports and entertainment. The Wallace impact could be immeasurable as younger drivers and fans see a role model outside of sports like football, basketball and baseball.
Like a growing legion of others, Rajah Caruth, an aspiring race driver said he has found a role model in Wallace. "He's been a good role model, a really good role model and an ambassador for the sport." Caruth said about Wallace. "He's been a really good person to look up to in terms of how to carry myself online and at the racetrack, how to treat people; how to deal with criticism and mean people."
Article by Tony C. Lesesne
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