Driver Bubba Wallace has raced in one of NASCAR's three major series every year since 2012 and in the Cup Series since 2018. Despite dealing with previous "instances of racism," he did not speak out about the Confederate flag or racial injustice until 2020. Wallace explained that he changed his approach amid a very stressful time in America.
Wallace recently spoke to Bloomberg News about pushing for the Confederate flag ban, as well as the recent incident involving a garage door pull rope with a noose handle. During this interview, he explained that he previously shied away from politics during the early portions of his NASCAR career. Now he is taking more time to educate himself on matters while recognizing that his vote matters. Encouraging NASCAR to be more inclusive was part of this process.
"I was always quick to say, you know, 'I don't even see the Confederate flags. I pay attention to the checkered flag.' You know, that's all I'm chasing, just kind of giving the politically-correct answer, the PR answer there," Wallace said. "And, you know, going through everything this year, 2020, it's been a hell of a year, one that we will for sure love to forget.
"And going through everything now and seeing how the world is changing and seeing how much people want change and inclusion and to feel wanted, it felt right to stand up and encourage NASCAR to take swift action to remove the Confederate flag. So I was proud of how quick that happened." This policy change actually brought new fans to the sport, including NFL running back Alvin Kamara.
When Wallace first made his stance on the Confederate flag public, he revealed that many celebrities had reached out to show support, but he did not bring any new sponsors to Richard Petty Motorsports. The Cup Series driver has had "to scrap" for sponsorships throughout his entire career and drove the No. 43 Chevrolet only bearing logos for the U.S. Air Force, Coca-Cola and McDonald's as recently as mid-June. However, this situation could soon be changing.
According to Bloomberg News, Wallace is now receiving more offers from multiple companies. "Yeah, we've got a lot of partnership outreach and new opportunities, and that's been great," Wallace said. "The phones have been ringing off the hook for my team behind closed doors."
Those pending sponsorship deals have not become public just yet, so Wallace will continue racing with his current brands on the No. 43 car. He will do so while trying to make up five spots in the playoff race to keep his season alive. The next step in that journey is performing well during Sunday's Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.