NASCAR's Bubba Wallace Reflects on Earning Historic Cup Series Race Victory (Exclusive)

Bubba Wallace made history during the NASCAR 2021 season. On Oct. 4, Wallace earned his first Cup Series race win, placing first in the Yeallwood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace became the first Black driver to a win Cup Series race since Wendell Scott in 1963. recently caught up with Wallace, and he revealed that he knew he had a great chance of winning a few days before the race. 

"I had a feeling Thursday or Friday," Wallace told PopCulture. "Amanda [Wallace's girlfriend] claims that she told me that we were going to win, but I had a feeling Friday before the race, this is definitely going to happen. Just everything felt right. And so there was moments throughout the race though, I was like, this is not what I had envisioned. We were running 25th, but it's Talladega, you never know what could happen with that last run there. We made a late charge to the front and actually got some help from Kurt [Busch], so it was kind of cool. A little bit of foreshadowing of what we can do with our future. But yeah, I think just being able to relive that moment and look back on what we were able to do that day is really cool."

The victory was also the first for 23XI Racing, an organization owned by NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan. Wallace enjoyed his first season with 23XI Racing and is happy to get a win for Jordan. And the organization will be bigger next year as Kurt Busch will be a new teammate. 

"I was able to get MJ his first win and NASCAR as an owner," Wallace said. "So just proud of everybody and their efforts. Obviously, we've added Kurt to the team, so we've added a lot of people. The expansion of our team has been great, got a lot of new smart faces that are going to be a part of our team moving forward. So just excited about the opportunities, I think the sky is the limit for us and there is so much potential left in our team to figure out what we need to do as a whole, to figure out this new car with NextGen coming out."

Wallace finished 21st in the Cup Series standings in 2021, the best finish in his young career. Along with the win at Talladega, Wallace finished second at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in Daytona and fifth at the Explore the Pocono Mountains at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.