Bubba Wallace has his first NASCAR Cup Series win. Wallace was winning when Ryan Preece got turned into the wall and triggered a multi-car crash with five laps to go in the second stage. Rain came just a few laps after the crash and NASCAR red-flagged the already rain-delayed race with 104 of 188 laps complete.
The win comes over a year after Wallace, the only Black driver racing full-time in NASCAR, was accidentally the central figure at Talladega for a reason that had nothing to do with racing in June of 2020. A noose knot was discovered on the garage door rope in Wallace’s garage door stall. Assuming the worst, NASCAR issued a statement condemning the actions of the alleged perpetrator and vowed to find whoever tied the knot.
The next day, drivers followed Wallace as his car was pushed to the grid before the race in a show of solidary against the potential hate crime. But no hate crime had occurred. After NASCAR investigated the knot — and the FBI was even called in — it was determined that the knot had been in the garage rope since 2019.
“This is to all those kids out there that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve to do the best they want to do,” an emotional Wallace said on pit road. “You’re going to go through a lot of bulls— but you’ve always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. And stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve wanted to give up and you surround yourself with the right people and it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”