Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-10-04 20:45:00 –
John Amis / AP
Monday, October 4, 2021 | 5:45 pm
Talladega, Alabama — The hard part was avoiding a crash and then driving in front of the field on the Talladega Superspeedway. It was Baba Wallace’s instinct.
The challenge hopes that 45 minutes after Wallace took the lead, the sky opened, he worriedly sat in the rain, NASCAR canceled Monday’s rescheduled race and declared him the winner. I was out.
A crowd gathered behind the pit stand and chanted support. A man told his six-year-old son, who was wearing a Wallace shirt and jumping up and down along the fence, “witnessing history.” NASCAR unplugged Wallace to become the second black driver to win the race at the Cup Series level.
“I have some confidence in my name right now,” said Wallace, who won the cup for the first time in the 143rd start. “I’m like’Finally I’m the winner and the cup-level winner’, it’s like’Hell yeah!’. It was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.”
This was more than just the first victory.
Wallace is the first black driver to win the top level of the elite stock car series since Wendell Scott in 1963. He wasn’t declared victorious in this race for several months. NASCAR finally presented Scott’s family with his trophy from that race two months ago...
“You can’t stand in the bank and swim !!” Tweeted Scott’s grandson, Warwick Scott Sr. “RIP Wendell Scott. Congratulations @bubbawallace !!” 2nd post I showed my grandfather leaning against the car And I read, “PaPa was there all the time to freeze in the rain.”
Wallace’s victory received praise from rappers Big sean, NS University of Tennessee football team And Bill Lester, a black driver who raced intermittently at NASCAR through the track series from 1999, will start this season.
“Finally, it’s official, you did it!” Posted by Lester. “I’m very proud of you and what you’ve accomplished. Your victory advances @ NASCAR’s needle in so many ways. I’m glad I was a witness.”
The race spotlighted NBC’s “Nightly News” at the beginning of Monday’s broadcast, demonstrating that Wallace’s victory was culturally important to NASCAR.
Wallace couldn’t ignore its importance as much as he wanted a moment just about the victory of his first career.
“It was definitely hard to get to some tracks this year, and it’s now the most booming,” Wallace said. “As long as everyone makes an okay noise, as you know, I’m booed for a variety of reasons and it’s hard to swallow. Raindance with me, Thanks to everyone who has pulled me and supported me throughout my career, especially to those who have supported me in everything in the last 15-16 months. “
In Talladega in June 2020, NASCAR discovered a rope at a garage stall assigned to Wallace.The discovery came just a week later NASCAR banned the Navy flag at the event At the prompt of Wallace.
The FBI investigated and found that the rope was tied at the end of the garage door pull and was there for months.That is, Wallace was not a victim of hate crimes. Still, the series gathered around him and stood in solidarity with Wallace in front of the grid before the race.
Flag bans continue to be a problem in Talladega. In Talladega, vehicle convoys have paraded up and down Speedway Boulevard outside the front door of the Speedway on all four race weekends since NASCAR announced the ban. The convoy returned this weekend and included a car towing a trailer containing a Civil War era cannon.
Wallace called the territory case the worst, and was harassed online last year, including a tweet from then-President Donald Trump, who falsely accused Wallace of making territory. Wallace had never seen a rope and was only informed by NASCAR President Steve Phelps after the FBI was summoned for investigation, but he was accused by many for organizing hoaxes. I am.
When the race was canceled on Monday with Wallace as the leader, social media was enthusiastic about comments attacking the 27-year-old Alabama natives, who will celebrate their birthday later this week.
“They just hate. Wallace’s team co-owner and fellow driver Denny Hamlin said:” I want to tell him, “The one I hate is wrong. Get your motivation from trying to do people who are proud of you, rather than trying to prove that you are. ”
“It gives me motivation. They are the people who support you in good times and bad times,” Hamlin said.
Wallace was driving 5 laps in front of the field after a crash Before the second rain stop in the race. When he soared forward, and when the entire field realized that rain could stop the race at any time, runner-up Brad Keselowski realized that Wallace was likely to have won the race on his pass. Did.
“I was thinking.” Oh, that’s right. “I wanted to do that,” Keselowski said.
NASCAR tried to dry the truck for nearly 45 minutes, but stopped because the sunset was approaching and the rain didn’t seem to stop.
Wallace was waiting on the pit stand and celebrated a lot with his crew when the decision was made. Wallace is the first season drive of 23X1 Racing, a team owned by both Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
“I’m very happy with Baba and the entire 23XI racing team. This is a big milestone and a historic victory for us,” Jordan said in a tweeted statement. “From the day we signed him, I knew Baba had the talent to win, and Denny and I couldn’t be proud of him anymore. Let’s go! “
Wallace wept after returning to the parked Toyota No. 23, the car number he chose for Jordan, who wore 23 in the NBA.
“This is for all the kids who want to do whatever they want with the opportunity and what they want to achieve, and want to be the best in what they want to do,” Wallace said in tears. “You will experience a lot of (BS), but you must always be loyal to your path and keep nonsense out of reach of you.
“Live strong. Be humble. Be hungry. There were many times I wanted to give up.”
Wallace went to a makeshift victory lane in an empty garage stall to celebrate with his team. It made a personnel change three races ago and nominated Booty Barker as his crew chief. This was Barker’s first victory in over 400 races as Cup Crew Chief.
The organization was founded a year ago and Wallace was an all-based hub. Companies that entered NASCAR to support Wallace and his social justice efforts.. The 23XI will be expanded to two next season, with former series champion Kurt Busch joining the team.
No playoff driver at Taradega this weekend won — the track, Xfinity, and Cup all won for the first time on the same track on the same weekend — and only Hamlin was locked into the third round of the cup playoffs. Next week’s elimination race in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Hamlin, who won the Daytona 500 three times, celebrated with Wallace after finishing in seventh place.
“It’s much more emotional because I know how difficult it is.” Hamlin said, “These teams have been working hard to bring this team together for the last decade.” rice field. We are still growing. There are some great things in the near future. It’s a great morale boost for everyone. “
Keselowski finished second, followed by Team Penske’s teammate Joey Logano in a Ford pair. Bush was fourth in Chevrolet.
Kevin Harvic, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman and William Byron head to Charlotte on the verge of exclusion.
The final race of the second round of the playoffs will take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. The Hybrid Road Course / Oval is where 12 fields are trimmed to 8. Chase Elliott is the two-time defending race winner at The Roval. His victory in October last year was the first of three wins in the last five races that pushed Elliott into his first cup championship.