Rain typically isn’t a welcome sight at NASCAR events, but Bubba Wallace will be celebrating the poor weather at Talladega Speedway on Monday afternoon for some time. A shortened race and some savvy driving gave the 27-year-old his first ever Cup Series victory at the YellaWood 500.
Wallace led for five of 117 laps before the race was brought to a halt by an onslaught of rain. Seventy-one laps still remained, but NASCAR decided to end the event to keep the drivers safe. Wallace was in the lead at the time of the stoppage, so he earned the victory.
The win marked Wallace’s first in 143 starts over the last five seasons. However, the victory was also historic for another reason. Wallace became just the second African-American driver to win a NASCAR Cup race, joining Wendell Scott, who accomplished the feat in 1963.
Although Monday’s victory was a ground-breaking achievement for Wallace, he kept his words short and sweet on Twitter after the win. Here’s what he said:
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) October 5, 2021
The win is a long-time coming for Wallace, who’s best finish prior to Monday was coming in second on two different occasions, both at Daytona. The latest top-10 finish for the 27-year-old came this August when he pulled out second-place at the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
It’s been a hectic last year for Wallace who joined 23XI Racing, the organization formed by NBA legend Michael Jordan and longtime NASCAR competitor Denny Hamlin, prior to the start of the 2021 season. The team has vaulted the fairly young driver into a strong position for the future, as well as the national spotlight, and he repaid the favor with the major victory on Monday.
Fans have surely not seen the last of Wallace winning races, but for the time being, he’ll celebrate this tremendous accomplishment.