Bubba Wallace
Bubba Wallace celebrates next to the trophy after winning a NASCAR Cup series auto race, in Talladega, Alabama, 04 Oct 2021. (John Amis/AP/Shutterstock)

Bubba Wallace Becomes the First Black Race Car Driver To Win NASCAR Cup Since 1963

In a historic first and an ongoing sign of increasing diversity and representation within the world of auto racing, Bubba Wallace has become the first Black driver to win a major NASCAR Cup race since 1963.

The Associated Press and NPR reported that “Bubba Wallace became just the second Black driver to win at NASCAR’s top Cup Series level when rain stopped Monday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.”

According to AP, “Wallace had driven through a crash and to the front of the field five laps before the second rain stoppage of the race. NASCAR tried to dry the track for nearly 45 minutes but called things off as sunset approached and the rain showed no sign of ceasing.”

Media coverage of the race showed Wallace in his pit stand waiting for the official announcement and then celebrating wildly with his pit crew when the race was finally called.

“Wallace is in his first season driving for 23XI Racing, a team owned by both Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan,” AP reported. “Wallace broke down in tears after he returned to his parked No. 23 Toyota. The car number was picked for co-owner Jordan, who wore 23 in the NBA.”

“This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity and whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do. You’re going to go through a lot of [BS]. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you,” Wallace said in an interview following the conclusion of the race. “Stay strong. Stay humble. Stay hungry. Been plenty of times when I wanted to give up.”

NASCAR officials said Wallace is the first Black driver to win at its elite Cup level since Wendell Scott in 1963. In that controversial race, Scott wasn’t declared the winner for a number of months, primarily due to the racist culture at the time. It wasn’t until this past summer, 58 years after his historic win, that NASCAR officially made amends for what it had done to Scott, finally presenting a trophy to his family.

In a tweet, fellow Black NASCAR driver Bill Lester congratulated Wallace, saying, “finally, it’s official, you’ve done it! So proud of you and what you’ve accomplished. Your win moves the NASCAR needle forward on so many fronts. Glad I was a witness.”

The win for Wallace this year follows a horrific year for the racer in 2020. Last June, members of his pit crew discovered a noose hanging in his assigned garage stall. Following the incident, at Wallace’s urging, NASCAR decided to ban Confederate flags at all future races. That event, like his historic win, also took place at Talladega.

“Wallace has called the noose incident a low point in his life,” AP reported. “He’s been subjected to nonstop online harassment that last year even included a tweet from then-President Donald Trump, who falsely accused Wallace of making up the noose.”

Following Wallace’s win, the Mobile, Alabama-native reflected on the significance of winning a NASCAR cup in his home state, saying, “it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, my friends. It’s pretty cool.”

After the decision was finally called, AP reported that “Wallace went to a makeshift victory lane inside an empty garage stall to celebrate with his 23XI Racing team. The organization was formed a year ago, and Wallace was the centerpiece based on all the corporations that entered NASCAR in support of Wallace and his social justice efforts.”

The Talladega win was a first for Wallace, following 142 previous career Cup starts.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

Latest News

The Dollar Divide

Too Poor to Die: The Rising Cost of Funerals 

Death is expensive.  For more than two decades, I have extensively written and reported about money-related content and even I was surprised at the cost of my mother’s funeral.  The median cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial is approximately $7,848. That doesn’t include the cost of the…

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Receives 12 Platinum Honors at the MUSE Creative Awards

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   Marriott International’s unmatched portfolio of luxury brands earned 12 Platinum Awards representing 5 dynamic brands, across 10 categories in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards — an international competition for creative professionals. The industry leader within the luxury…