NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace decided to do something special for two legendary sports stars who died last month. He's currently in Daytona, Fla. getting ready for the Daytona 500 and he was seen with a shark-toothed paint scheme on his No. 43 Chevrolet. A decal on the roof pillar pays tribute to NASCAR driver John Andretti who died on Jan. 30 after a long battle with colon cancer. And part of the rear decklid pays tribute to NBA star Kobe Bryant who was killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other people.
"It was a given with John Andretti driving the 43 years ago and being part of the RPM family," Wallace said after posting the 32nd-fastest qualifying speed Sunday per NASCAR.com. "I wanted to do something special for Kobe and all the victims there. I was going to put his name where my name was on the door, but then we were like, we need to honor every single person there and I agreed with that.
"We decided to come up with a cool decal … and it came out really cool with the Lakers colors, which is pretty cool. It offsets from our Air Force scheme, but just a lot of people riding with us for the 500 on Sunday."
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Wallace is looking to have a breakthrough 2020 season and it looks like it could happen. He finished 38th in the Daytona 500 last year, but he turn heads in 2018 when he finished second in the Great American Race while Austin Dillon came in first. He has done well in practice, finishing first in a second practice run.
"So practice is another thing," Wallace said. "Everybody's like, 'hey, you've got a really good car.' I'm like, we drafted and no one else did. So I don't mean to be that guy, but just giving you realistic facts there. But I do get excited coming to the speedway stuff, just because our program's been so solid."
Andretti was a member of one of the biggest racing families in history. He won two races in the NASCAR Cup Series and he also recorded 37 top-10 finishes. Bryant is considered as one of the best players in NBA history. He led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and he was named to the All-Star team 18 times.