Bubba Wallace after top-15 finish at Talladega: ‘You’re not gonna take away my smile’

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images /

Bubba Wallace gave a beautiful interview after his top-15 finish at Talladega.

On Sunday, a noose was discovered in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall. The very next day, he let the world know it wasn’t going to stop him from racing, succeeding or smiling.

The past 48 hours have undoubtedly been a whirlwind for Wallace, who is NASCAR‘s only Black driver in the top circuit. Fellow racers and crew members walked in solidarity with him before the race, and with all that emotion in the air, he still had to race in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Wallace finished 14th nonetheless, the best finish yet of his career at Talladega, and he wasted no time relishing the moment by reaching out to some Black fans wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts in the crowd.

“This is probably the most badass moment right here,” he said.

Bubba Wallace’s post-race interview was a thing of beauty.

“The sport is changing,” Wallace continued. “The deal that happened yesterday — sorry I’m not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you’re not gonna take away my smile.”

Wallace has been outspoken for the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against racism and police brutality. He wore an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt to one NASCAR event, painted “Black Lives Matter” on his car and helped influence NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag.

“I know I should’ve won that damn race,” he said with a smile as the fans behind him cheered. “We ran outta gas, the stars just didn’t align today, but all in all, we won today.”

Wallace also addressed the pre-race show of support from his fellow NASCAR drivers.

“The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life,” he said. “From all the supporters, from drivers, from crew members, everybody here, the badass fanbase, thank you guys for coming out here. This is truly incredible and I’m proud to be a part of this sport.”

Suffice it to say Bubba Wallace is only going to get bigger and bigger after this, and rightfully so.

Next. NASCAR confirms noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall. dark