Always under somewhat of a microscope as the only full-time African American driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, Bubba Wallace sent a loud message to his doubters by winning the fall Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway in his home state of Alabama. Of course, some fans — particularly on Twitter — wanted to discredit Wallace’s win since it came in a race cut short by rain, but Wallace is hardly the first driver to ever win in this fashion.
In fact, it happens almost every season and sometimes multiple times in a season. In scoring the victory, Wallace made history as the first African American driver to earn a win in NASCAR’s premier series since the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott did so at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida on December 1, 1963. Wallace finished the season with a career-high three top-fives in his 23XI Racing Toyota co-owned by three-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
However, Wallace’s final ranking in the standings — 21st — was just one position better than where he finished in 2020, his final season with Richard Petty Motorsports. Wallace did not make the playoffs by virtue of his win, because it came not during the 26-race regular season but after the playoffs had already started. Nevertheless, the Mobile, Alabama native has reason to feel optimistic about 2022 and the rest of his future in the sport just knowing that he’s at least checked the race winner’s box.