The White Zone: Bubba Wallace did it

One hundred and ninety-eight. That’s how many different drivers have a NASCAR Cup Series win, over the span of 2,673 races.

Bubba Wallace put his name on that list.

He put himself in position, in a race where nobody led more than 11 laps in a single stint. He blocked the advance of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, two of the best restrictor plate racers in NASCAR, today.

Wallace did it.

The White Zone: Bubba Wallace did it

The response

TALLADEGA, Ala. – OCTOBER 4: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald’s Toyota, is embraced by Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Maytag Ford, on the grid after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 4, 2021, in Talladega, Alabama. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

 

For over a year, a subsection of NASCAR’s fanbase blasted Wallace on social media. It ranged from those who criticized his performance (like myself), to those keyboard warriors who took to their Firstname Bunchofnumbers accounts (and you know exactly who you are) and spewed the most vile, disgusting rhetoric at him.

I refer to those of you who told him he never won a race, whilst ignoring his six Camping World Truck Series victories. If you pressed those people on it, they moved the goalpost and said those meant nothing (would they say the same thing to NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner or Matt Crafton?).

Well, Wallace did it.

Moreover, I refer to those who devalue his victory, because it was rained out. Yeah, tell that to Jeff Gordon, another NASCAR Hall of Famer, who’s won five rained-out races.

It doesn’t matter how. At the end of the day, Wallace did it.

Finally, I refer to those of you — from online burner accounts to a former President of the United States — who claimed (and still claim) that Wallace made up the noose (which turned out to be a garage door pull). Even though he never saw it (a crew member of his did) and he learned about it from NASCAR President Steve Phelps.

“Those people just need to grow up,” 23XI Racing team co-owner Denny Hamlin said. “Honestly, appreciate the accomplishment that the kid just had.”

Until he wins regularly, however, those people probably won’t. They’ll keep Wallace under a microscope, because of how badly NASCAR handled the garage door pull situation.

“They just are a hater,” Hamlin said. “That’s all you can really say about it. I try to say to him, ‘Don’t get your motivation trying to prove haters wrong. Instead get your motivation from trying to do the people that support you proud.’ That’s where the motivation is going to come from, is the people that are going to support you through the good times and the bad times.”

Of course, if Monday at Talladega Superspeedway is any indication, his fanbase grows piece by piece, everyday.

 

The White Zone: Bubba Wallace did it

Closing thoughts

TALLADEGA, Ala. – OCTOBER 4: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald’s Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 4, 2021, in Talladega, Alabama. Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

At the end of the day, the name on the trophy reads “Bubba Wallace: Winner of the YellaWood 500.” He’s now on the same list as 197 other humans. A list that includes names like Richard Petty, David Pearson and newcomers Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell.

What’s more, he joins NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott as the second African American to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. And he did so in the Deep South.

Wallace did it.

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

TOP IMAGE: Chris Graythen/Getty Images


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.