Bubba Wallace wins first race at Talladega for Michael Jordan’s 23XI NASCAR Racing team, Milestone for Bubba Wallace as he earns 1st NASCAR victory

Bubba Wallace wins first race at Talladega for Michael Jordan’s 23XI NASCAR Racing team, Milestone for Bubba Wallace as he earns 1st NASCAR victory

 

Bubba Wallace makes history with first Cup victory at Talladega
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 Bubba Wallace makes history with first Cup victory at Talladega
Bubba Wallace sped to his first NASCAR Cup Series victory Monday, making history with a rain-shortened triumph at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wallace led five of the 117 laps in the YellaWood 500, which was stopped 71 laps shy of the full distance by the second rain shower of the day. He drove the 23XI Racing No. 23 Toyota to a home-state victory at the 2.66-mile Alabama track, producing the first win for the Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin-owned organization in its first season.Wallace became the first Black driver to win in the Cup Series since NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott’s lone victory Dec. 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, Fla.Wallace’s Talladega victory denied the playoff-eligible contenders from securing an automatic berth in the Round of 8, the postseason’s next phase. Hamlin had advanced with a Las Vegas Motor Speedway victory the previous weekend.Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano finished second and third. Kurt Busch placed fourth with Christopher Bell completing the top five.Regular season champion Kyle Larson finished 37th after a crash near the end of Stage 1 damaged his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Teammate William Byron nudged the No. 77 Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier into a spin, collecting both Larson and the No. 14 Ford of Chase Briscoe. Larson continued, but the finish dented his playoff-points cushion.Alex Bowman was eliminated by a Lap 96 crash that also damaged the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of playoff contenders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Bowman finished 38th, with Busch 27th and Truex 12th.The race was postponed from its original Sunday start by nagging rain showers. Inclement weather also briefly halted the race during Monday’s Stage 2, forcing a stoppage of 18 minutes, 20 seconds for track-drying efforts with 73 laps complete. A final shower later in the day ended it.The Cup Series’ next race is the Round of 12 finale, scheduled Sunday (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. Four drivers will be trimmed from the postseason field after the event.

Bubba Wallace wins first race at Talladega for Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team

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It didn’t take long for Michael Jordan to make an impact in the NASCAR world

Bubba Wallace, the driver of Jordan’s 23XI Racing car, won his first career race on Monday at Talladega Superspeedway after rain soaked the track while he was leading. The race was shortened to 117 laps, but was deemed official because it was past halfway point of the 188-lap race (lap 94).

Wallace, 27, is just the second African-American to win a NASCAR Cup Series race and the first since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in 1963. It was Wallace’s 143rd career start, but just the 31st start for 23XI Racing, which is co-owned by Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

Wallace, who hails from nearby Mobile, Ala., took the lead at his home track on lap 113 and held off several hard charges from hungry competitors. Everyone was aware that rain was on the way and the race could be called at any moment.

On lap 116, Ryan Preece, William Byron and Matt DiBenedetto wrecked to bring out a caution. Then, rain started pouring and the cars were halted. Mother nature cooperated for Wallace and the race was called 17 minutes later.

Fighting back tears in his post-race interview, Wallace took in the history of what he just accomplished.

“I never think about those things,” Wallace said when asked about being the first African-American to win in nearly 58 years. “When you say it like that it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends. It’s pretty damn cool. Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series.”

 

NASCAR playoffs at Talladega results: Bubba Wallace earns first career win in rain-shortened YellaWood 500

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After their arrival in NASCAR was met with a cavalcade of hype, anticipation and expectations, success did not prove instantaneous for 23XI Racing in what had been a 2021 season full of growing pains. But thanks to Bubba Wallace’s performance in crunch time with inclement weather closing in, they will now be able to celebrate a Cup Series victory for the first time.

After taking the lead just before an accident brought the caution out, Wallace was declared the winner of the YellaWood 500 at Talladega as persistent rain prevented NASCAR from drying the racetrack. The race was declared official after 118 of 188 laps, giving Wallace his first career win in the Cup Series and 23XI Racing’s first win as a team.

Wallace’s victory is a significant one in NASCAR history, as it marks only the second Cup victory for a Black driver and the first in the sport’s modern era. NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott won his first and only Cup race at Jacksonville in December of 1963, but was only declared the winner after a scoring issue was sorted out in post-race.

“It brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends — It’s pretty damn cool. Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series,” Wallace told NBC Sports. “This is to all those kids out there that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do.”

The deciding moment of the race came on the final run, as Wallace made a charge from the outside line to take the race lead and keep Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano behind him before a multi-car crash brought the caution out. As the field ran under caution, an expected rainstorm began, forcing the red flag to be displayed. As the halfway point had been passed, the race was declared official after the inclement weather prevented NASCAR from drying the racetrack and restarting the race.

Adding to the significance of Wallace’s victory was his personal history at Talladega, the site of a June 2020 incident where a garage pull rope in his garage stall fastened in the shape of a noose was feared to be a racist threat towards him. While it was found that no crime had been committed and the rope had been there well before the race weekend, the incident significantly increased Wallace’s profile within NASCAR.

“You’re gonna go through a lot of bullshit, but you’ve always got to stay true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. And stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry,” Wallace said. “There have been plenty of times where I’ve wanted to give up. But you surround yourself with the right people, and it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”

After rain forced the race to be postponed from Sunday to Monday, the field found themselves racing the weather in addition to racing each other, increasing the urgency throughout the field and leading several Playoff drivers into trouble. Just prior to the end of Stage 1, Kyle Larson’s day was ruined when he was collected in a multi-car crash, putting him multiple laps down due to damage suffered to the front of his car. Alex Bowman and William Byron were also taken out in separate accidents that also collected Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

With Wallace winning as a non-playoff driver, no driver was able to secure an automatic berth in the Round of 8. There is one race left to go in the Round of 12, with the elimination race being at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval next Sunday.

Unofficial YellaWood 500 Results

1. #23 – Bubba Wallace
2. #2 – Brad Keselowski
3. #22 – Joey Logano
4. #1 – Kurt Busch
5. #20 – Christopher Bell
6. #17 – Chris Buescher
7. #11 – Denny Hamlin
8. #4 – Kevin Harvick
9. #3 – Austin Dillon
10. #38 – Anthony Alfredo

Unofficial NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings

1. #11 – Denny Hamlin (1 win)
2. #5 – Kyle Larson (+22)
3. #22 – Joey Logano (+21)
4. #2 – Brad Keselowski (+20)
5. #19 – Martin Truex Jr. (+20)
6. #12 – Ryan Blaney (+17)
7. #18 – Kyle Busch (+9)
8. #9 – Chase Elliott (+8)

9. #4 – Kevin Harvick (-8)
10. #20 – Christopher Bell (-27)
11. #24 – William Byron (-43)
12. #48 – Alex Bowman (-51)

Live updates
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The race has been declared official: Bubba Wallace has earned his first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he does it at Talladega. Third first-time winner this season and the first since Christopher Bell in February.1. #23 – Bubba Wallace
2. #2 – Brad Keselowski
3. #22 – Joey Logano
4. #1 – Kurt Busch
5. #20 – Christopher Bell
6. #17 – Chris Buescher
7. #11 – Denny Hamlin
8. #4 – Kevin Harvick
9. #43 – Erik Jones
10. #38 – Anthony Alfredo
@NASCAR via Twitter
@NASCARonNBC via Twitter
While track drying efforts have started, lightning has now been reported in the area.

Jet dryers have been deployed and track drying efforts are underway.
@NASCARonNBC via Twitter
Update on where things stand as far as rain is concerned: Battle is between the weather and the remaining daylight.

Don’t forget about 23XI Racing crew chief Bootie Barker in this scenario.Barker returned to the pit box after several years only a few races ago, and this would be his first-ever win as a Cup crew chief after winning several times in what is now the Xfinity Series nearly 20 years ago.

Milestone for Bubba Wallace as he earns 1st NASCAR victory

 

Bubba Wallace wins rain-shortened NASCAR Talladega race to claim first Cup Series victory

‘It’s pretty damn cool

Bubba Wallace is a winner.

Wallace's number 23 car was at the front when racing was suspended after 117 laps of the YellaWood 500 at Talladega were completed.
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Wallace’s number 23 car was at the front when racing was suspended after 117 laps of the YellaWood 500 at Talladega were completed. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The 23IX Racing driver was leading the NASCAR playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday when it was suspended for rain after lap 117.

Since more than half of the scheduled 188 laps were completed, NASCAR rules say the standings will be scored as the official finishing order.

The race had been postponed from Sunday due to bad weather at the Alabama track.

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Wallace, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs, was leading championship contenders Brad Keselowski Joey Logano at the time the red flag was flown.

It marks Wallace’s first win in the Cup Series, where his previous best finishes were second place showings at the 2018 Daytona 500 and 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the Daytona International Speedway.

With the victory, Wallace becomes just the second African American to win a Cup Series race after Wendell Scott who won in 1963.

“It obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends. It’s pretty damn cool,” a teary Wallace said after the race.

Wallace said it was fitting that the victory came at Talladega, where last summer he found himself at the center of controversy when a door pull rope tied into a noose was found in his garage, leading to an outpouring of support from NASCAR. It was later determined the rope was not directed at him, sparking unfounded accusations from some, including President Trump, that the incident was a publicity stunt or a hoax.

“This is to all those kids out there who want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve and be the best at whatever they want to do and you’re going to go through a lot of bulls–t, but you’ve always gotta stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you and stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry,” Wallace said.

“There’s been plenty of times when I wanted to give up and you surround yourself with the right people and its moments like this you appreciate.”

The win was also the first for the 23XI Racing team, which was launched by owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan this season.

BUBBA WALLACE

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace drives the No. 23 Toyota Camry for the new Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin owned 23XI Racing team in the NASCAR Cup Series, the top racing circuit in America.

As the sport’s lone Black driver, Bubba has played a critical part in NASCAR’s push for inclusion and equality, including its ban of the Confederate flag at races.

A graduate of NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, Wallace first drew headlines in 2013 when he became the first African-American in 50 years to win in one of NASCAR’s top three national touring series when he won his first of six career NASCAR Truck Series races.

Then in 2018, Bubba became the first African-American to become a full-time driver in NASCAR’s premier Cup Series and proceeded to finish second in his very first Daytona 500, again drawing headlines.

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